The vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo,
has called for an increase in the number of beneficiaries of the survival fund under the Federal Government's
Economic Sustainability Plan.
The ESP is a N2.3tn stimulus
package put in place to help
small businesses weather the
impact of COVID-19.
The senior special assistant to
the vice-president on media and
publicity, Laolu Akande, in a
statement on Monday quoted
Osinbajo as speaking at a meeting before the Christmas holidays.
The statement was titled
'MSMEs survival fund: We must
find ways of doing more, says
Osinbajo was quoted as saying that with the kind of impact
and interest already generated
among Nigerians by the ongoing implementation of plan, there
was a need to expand the scope
and reach of the benefits to a
larger number of people.
The Vice-President was
quoted as saying, "I think that
we must find ways of expanding
the scope of the scheme because when you look at the numbers that we have approval for,
the numbers are small in comparison to the enormity of the
problems that we are faced with.
"Even if we are able to reach
two million beneficiaries, it is still
a tiny percentage of the millions
who require help and assistance.
So, I think, we have to find ways
of trying to seek an approval to
expand the scope of the scheme.
This is an important aspect of
Commending the committee
members for their efforts in impacting the lives of beneficiaries
of the Payroll Support, the Artisan and Transport grants as well
as beneficiaries in other tracks
of the scheme, Osinbajo said the
partnership with the private sector in the implementation of the
scheme was notable.
So far, the scheme is said to
have commenced disbursement
to about 500,000 beneficiaries.
The Payroll Support Scheme
has paid close to 350,000 beneficiaries; almost 166,000 of 300,000
artisans have benefitted from the
artisan and transport scheme;
and the Corporate Affairs Commission is ramping up numbers
to register 250,000 new businesses free of charge, according to the statement.
In another virtual meeting,
Osinbajo and some ministers
were said to have interacted with
the Nigeria Automotive Manufacturers Association.
At the meeting, Osinbajo reportedly said the central plank
of the government's automotive
policy was to protect the interest of all Nigerians, noting that
maintaining high tariffs on automobiles would not necessarily
lead to growth in the industry.
The Vice-President said, "Government has the responsibility
for ensuring the welfare of the
people, everybody and every
Osinbajo noted that the way
forward was for "the auto industry to challenge itself and whatever support it requires from
government to be able to say,
where is the Nigerian car that will
be affordable to all and affordable to most people.