From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe

The focal person in charge of the Federal Government’s Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund in Gombe State has announced that the programme is targeting about 35,000 beneficiaries in the State and that no fewer than N1.5 billion has been set aside to support small business owners in the State.

The MSME Survival Fund is a scheme under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari in collaboration with state governors to provide a grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs within the MSME from the shock of the Novel corona-virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to Ahmad Hussaini, the Gombe State focal person of the programme, the Survival Fund project is being implemented in five different components.

‘We have the Payroll Support, which is targeting businesses that we’re unable to pay salaries due to the pandemic.

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‘There is also the MSME grant, which is targeting individual small scale businesses and the artisans and transport workers support, which is targeting artisans like tailors, mechanics and other including those offering transport services,’ he told Daily Sun at a town hall meeting organised by his office in collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI) in Gombe.

He explained that the programme is to support small scale business owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to revive their businesses and get them up and running after the devastating state they found themselves in.

‘There are a lot of businesses that were badly affected by the measures taken to prevent the spread of the pandemic,’ he said.

Hussaini, who is also the Technical Assistant to Gombe State Governor, added that: ‘We are targeting about 35, 000 people for Gombe State, scattered across the five components of the programme, and we are getting overwhelmed by the number of people, groups and associations that turning out to register.

‘That has informed the State Government to roll out a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) intervention programme that is targeting about 60,000 people in the State. The combined contribution that the Federal Government is making to the Gombe State economy through the MSME Survival Fund is around N1.5 to N2 billion.’