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Artisans in some states and the FCT have started receiving the N30,000 one-time grant under the Artisan Support Scheme of the Federal Government’s Survival Fund programme to support MSMEs nationwide, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande.

He said, “As I’m speaking to you now, beneficiaries in about 11 states and the FCT in the first stream of States have started collecting the N30,000 one-time grant. These include Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta states and the FCT. The registration for the second batch of states have already begun. There will also be a third batch. All the 36 states and FCT are covered and verified beneficiaries will be paid the one-time grant.”

According to him, the beneficiaries will be known to the public so they can attest to it themselves that under the Buhari administration you don’t need to know anybody before you benefit from the government.

“The Artisan support scheme’s N30,000 one-time Grant will be distributed fairly equally across the states and the people that are targeted will be beneficiaries directly.”

“Another phase has begun on the survival fund scheme where 250,000 businesses names will be registered by the CAC for free. The federal government is going to pay for the cost of the business registration and the first 250,000 Nigerians will be beneficiaries, it is on a first-come-first-serve basis.”

Speaking during a live radio programme on the FRCN network on Thursday, Akande stated that the Federal Government under its MSME Survival Fund scheme will be paying three months’ salaries of certain categories of workers like private school teachers, transport workers and other categories of business owners., so as to help cushion the economic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic shut down.

Explaining further, he added that the Survival Fund Payroll Support will pay the sum of N30,000 or N50,000 grant over three months to 500,000 beneficiaries nationwide. While a one-time Grant of N30,000 will be paid to artisans, and N50,000 to some small businesses.

Akande further noted that, despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the Economic Sustainability Plan of the Buhari government will help revamp the nation’s economy, boost local production, sustain and create jobs.

While providing updates on the ESP which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in June as a N2.3 trillion stimulus plan for the economy, the Presidential spokesperson, added that the Plan showed the commitment of the Federal Government to the welfare of all Nigerians, especially the common man.

He further said the ESP has different components which are sector specific and tailored to provide solutions to sustain jobs and boost the economy.

According to him, “the Agro programme (for agriculture) has been making progress so far as we have enumerated more than 4 million Farmers who will be benefiting under the agricultural aspect of the ESP. The Central Bank will be making lending possible for the bigger partners who will in turn make the equipment, services, yields and fertilizers to smallholder farmers. They will also be going to about 5 million and these are essentially small holder farmers, of which they are also targeting the significant increase in cultivation. They are also looking at 20,000 acres of land per state, of which all of that is in progress and very soon money will be allocated to fund the project.”

The Presidential Spokesperson also explained that the Federal Government is making progress on the ESP 300,000 social housing scheme, which is designed to build houses across the country for low income earners.

According to Akande, the ESP Housing scheme will be funded by borrowing through the CBN, which will then be monetized and mortgaged.

“The housing scheme will provide ordinary Nigerians the opportunity to own their own homes by paying about N9,000 or so monthly to be able to afford these houses. The cost of these houses on the average is going to be about N1.1 million – N1.2 million for a one-bedroom, two-bedroom apartments. More information will be given about that subsequently,” he said.

On the ESP solar power initiative, Akande said it will create 250,000 jobs and provide electricity for millions of homes via installation of solar panels in 5 million homes across the country.

He disclosed that the Solar Home systems and mini-grids will be installed in five million homes across the country in places where they are not already connected to the National Grid.

He said, “There are people that are not on that grid, and there are places where there is no electricity at all because the majority of Nigerians (in these areas) are not on the National Grid. These are the people we are targeting to install solar panels. This will done in a way that it’s not only affordable, but very efficient for the people. Information will be given when the project commences.”

Akande further emphasized that the application and enumeration process for all the economic programmes has been made easier.

He explained, “If you look at the way we managed the Social Investment programmes (SIP). We try to make the point that the president and the vice-president are committed to ensuring that there is an equitable way that these things are done.

“It is not where you give slots to political figures and public officials and then everybody shares it, you know. This program is being done on the basis that is transparent and you can even check it and is for the access and benefits of all Nigerians.”

For instance, under the SIP and N-Power a portal was created, for TraderMoni enumerators were sent to the markets where the petty traders are identified and verified before they started to get the alerts. Also, for the FG MSME survival fund, application process was done on the website www.survivalfundapplication.comof which many Nigerians have applied. For the artisans who don’t have access to the website, enumerators are sent to wherever they are to ensure registration.”

Akande gave his opinion as regarding the issue of #EndSARS protests which focused on issues like police brutality, excessive use of force and extra judicial killings by members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

He said the President had acted on it two years ago, when he approved the recommendation of a panel that was set up in 2018 to review the activities of SARS. He also approved the White Paper last year.

The Spokesperson reiterated that the President has affirmed the dissolution of SARS, but also noted that the Nigeria Police Force had some excellent and wonderful officers in their ranks despite the challenges.

He highlighted the fact that the Federal Government has started the process of holistic police reforms.

“Everybody including the Inspector General of police agreed that police brutality has to end now, and extensive police reforms have been set in motion including police welfare.”

He lamented the aftermath of the peaceful protests which degenerated into mass looting, and wanton destruction of public and private property in some states.

“The good thing is that we are all coming together again to build and to go forward and to ensure that there is Justice for every and all known cases of police brutality and all wrongful acts.

“So, the National Economic Council (NEC), acted properly by saying that each state should go and set up its own judicial panel. As at the last count, over16 states have instituted and established those panels, including Lagos, which is the epicenter as we all know.

“As seen with the Lagos case, the judicial panel proceedings are being broadcast live, so people are going to see what it is and justice will be delivered for those who have been wronged or suffered police brutality.”

It would be recalled that the NEC, chaired by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, had directed the immediate establishment of State-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality or related extra-judicial killings to ensure delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved SARS and other police units.

In the same vain, the Presidential Spokesperson appealed to Nigerians for patience as the Buhari administration is committed to improving the nation’s economy and welfare of the people.

“My word to Nigerians is that they should be patient with the President and Vice President. One of the reasons why the President was elected was because of his integrity. And I say this on my honor, they’re committed to the welfare of the ordinary man and the welfare of every Nigerian. Let’s give them a little bit of time. Let’s be patient with them and we will do everything that we need to do to win the trust of our people again,” Akande added.


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