FG begins disbursement of N200bn palliative loans

The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment says it has begun disbursement of the Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme to verified applicants after an exhaustive selection process.

The government, through the Bank of Industry, had said it would be disbursing three categories of funding totalling N200bn to support manufacturers and businesses across the country.

In a progress report posted on X (formerly Twitter) handle on Tuesday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Aniete, stated that an unspecified number of beneficiaries had received their grants, adding that by Friday, April 19, another significant disbursement will be made to a substantial number of verified applicants.

She said, “We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. Some beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy.

“By Friday, April 19, 2024, a significant disbursement will be made to a substantial number of verified applicants. It is essential to understand that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants on this initial date. However, rest assured that all verified applicants will eventually receive their grants in subsequent phases.”

This is coming more than eight months after President Bola Tinubu announced the grant for manufacturers and small businesses and two weeks after applicants were directed to submit their National Identification Numbers as part of the requirements to obtain the grant earmarked to cushion the effect that recent economic reforms have had on businesses in the country.

In the address, the president said he was determined to strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand, and create good-paying jobs.

“We are going to spend N75bn between July 2023 and March 2024. Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation, and improve productivity.

‘’Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1bn credit at 9 per cent per annum with a maximum of 60 months repayment for long-term loans and 12 months for working capital,” Tinubu said.

The programme, riddled with multiple delays and a complex registration process, had received several criticisms from prospective beneficiaries.

The President of the Association of Small Business Owners, Femi Egbesola, had decried the slow pace of data collation by the supervising agencies, alleging that genuine businesses were being deliberately discouraged from accessing the loans.

He said, “Well, I don’t know why it has not been disbursed. Immediately after the announcement was made by the president at the national address months ago, we were all excited, thinking succour had come somehow, somewhere. We were extremely hopeful, but at the moment, we have been disenfranchised because we have waited, and there is no hope.

“We expected that even if the money has not been disbursed, communication should have been made to stakeholders, letting us know reasons why it hasn’t been disbursed, the current state and progress made, and the expected date to commence.”

Continuing, the minister solicited patience from stakeholders.

A phased disbursement plan has been designed to ensure that each application is given the consideration it deserves.

She added, “The President Bola Tinubu Administration understands the importance of these grants in supporting the livelihoods and businesses of our citizens, and this is why we are committed to ensuring a smooth and transparent process. In collaboration with telecommunications providers, we have successfully resolved the initial delays in sending out shortcodes for NIN verification and application continuation.

“We ask for your patience as we continue to process the applications with the utmost diligence and fairness. The phased disbursement plan has been designed to ensure that each application is given the consideration it deserves.

“Stay tuned for further updates, and we sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this process. Your contribution to the economic growth of our nation is invaluable, and we look forward to achieving more together,” the statement concluded.


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