By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
A total of N37 billion has been expended by the Federal Government on the Survival Fund Scheme, the Vice President Office has said.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, yesterday, said the amount had gone into schemes such as N50,000 Payroll Support for three months to over 300,000 beneficiaries, one-time grants of N30,000 to about 100,000 artisans, and 100,000 business name registrations paid for by the government.
The Scheme is a unit under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, aimed at cushioning the harsh effects of the outbreak of COVID-19 on Nigerians.
According to the statement, ministers and heads of agencies had been reporting progress in the implementation of the ESP as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), presided over a meeting of the Economic Sustainability Committee yesterday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
While the Minister of State for Industry, Trade & Investment Ambassador Mariam Katagum reported the progress of the Fund to the Committee, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele also reported on the bank’s intervention, including disbursement of over N192B for household/MSMEs grants to 426,000 beneficiaries across the country, with plans to do over N100billion more in that category named Targeted Credit Facility.
The CBN Governor also disclosed that under the collateral-free Agric-Business/Small & Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme, there are ongoing grants of concessionary loans from between N150,000 and N2.5million.
In that category, the governor said over N106bilion had been disbursed to over 27,000 beneficiaries.
In the Agric sector, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, also reported that under the ESP, a total of 5.4million farmers had been enumerated to get the support under the plan.
He added that for the enumeration which involved geospatial tagging, almost 73,000 N-Power volunteers were trained and 30,000 of them deployed to 774 Local Government Areas.
For the purposes of funding through the CBN, the minister said 2.9million of the farmers have had their BVN enrollment validated.
Also, the clearing of 3,200 hectares of land for farming is ongoing in several states including Edo, Plateau, Ekiti, Cross River, Ogun, Kaduna, Kwara, and Osun states while rural road constructions have reached about 28 per cent completion covering 344km, linking about 500 markets across the country.
The Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami also briefed the Committee that broadband penetration in the country has moved from 38per cent last year to 45per cent now, while over 170 institutions have been registered to conduct the NIN.
He also said telcos were licensed for the enrollment, while over 1060 registration centers have been activated across the country for the NIN. He reports that a total of 56.18million NINs have been collected by mobile network operators.
Others who briefed the Committee included the Labour, Employment and Productivity Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, and his Minister of State colleague Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN.
In his presentation, Dr. Ngige listed the Federal Government’s efforts to prevent the retrenchment of staff in the Private Sector because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He listed some hotel companies who agreed not to retrench and it was also disclosed that bankers have all committed not to retrench staff at this time.
Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola reported on the ministry’s coordinated FG Public Works Programme, while Mr. Keyamo reported on the progress of the Special Public Works that hires 774,000 workers across all Local Government Areas of the country.
Other presentations were made on the Rapid Response Register launched recently by the Vice President and the Social Housing Scheme of the ESP.
Other ministers at the meeting were the Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Petroleum Resources Minister of State, Mr. Timipre Sylva.