FG disburses N785m to 10m MSMEs

By Armstrong Bakam

••Says $3bn invested in seven sugar projects

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, has said that the Federal Government, in its efforts to create the right environment for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises to thrive, has disbursed N785 billion through the Bank of Industry to over 10 million MSMEs from 2019 to July 2022.

He stated this on Thursday at the Command Guest House during the closing ceremony of the 14th Meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade, and Investment which had the theme, “Strengthening Industry, Trade and Investment Sector in Promoting Development in the Country.”

According to him, the intervention was made possible because the BOI further deepened its capital base to $5 billion, attracting international partners like AFREXIM and Credit Suisse.

“We have implemented various initiatives focused on creating the right environment for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises to thrive. These include measures to ensure MSMEs have improved access to finance, enhanced market access, and a reduction in operation costs.

“The Federal Government has successfully disbursed about N785 billion through the Bank of Industry to over ten million MSMEs from 2019 to July 2022. This was possible because BOI has further deepened its capital base to $5 billion with international partners like AFREXIM, and Credit Suisse, among others,” he said.

Adebayo said that his ministry revised the MSME Policy to drive the growth and competitiveness of the sector in the country and successfully increased the nation’s capacity to fund tech-driven MSMEs, through collaboration with the African Development Bank, to secure the $500 million Technology Fund.

He recalled that the MSME Survival Fund Initiative was launched in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic as part of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, which protected MSMEs from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing out that as of July 2022, N67.5 billion had been disbursed to over 1.2 million beneficiaries, thus protecting at-risk jobs and creating new ones.

He said, “One of the key strategies used in the implementation of our mandate is the Backward Integration Program aimed at the domestication of production of high-priority items. These items include Sugar, Cassava Starch, Oil Palm, Dairy, Cotton Textiles & Garments, and Automobiles and I am glad to report that we have recorded progress in each of these commodities.

“I am glad to report that progress has been made in these programs; over $3 billion has been invested in 7 Sugar BIP projects and 8 independent projects. In the Automotive sector, over $1 billion of investment has been recorded and we are ready to proceed to the next phase for the Automotive Industry; the review of the NAIDP is almost complete as the Plan is going through the Validation Process.

“To further accelerate industrialization, we are fast-tracking the establishment of Special Economic Zones across the country to increase the availability of infrastructure and provide fiscal incentives for value addition.”

The Minister admitted that despite his Ministry’s initiatives and successes which, he said, were too numerous to mention, there was still a lot of ground to be covered, especially given the high unemployment rate in the country affecting mostly youth.

In his address, Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, stated that his administration had been initiating and implementing policies aimed at moving the state’s economy along the trajectory of the nation’s overall development aspirations, noting that, “I must thank Mr. President for allowing them to always contribute.

“Bauchi State is a state of Buhari and Buhari is Bauchi State and that’s why even as a governor in the opposition I know the position of Mr. President.”

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