FG lifts 280 export oriented businesses with grants —minister

The minister said that the grant provided through Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) created additional 20, 000 jobs for youths and women.

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Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo

The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo says the Federal Government has provided grants to 280 export-oriented businesses, resulting in the creation of 100,000 direct jobs.

Adebayo said this when he was featured at the 20th edition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration scorecard series organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Tuesday in Abuja.

The minister said that the grant provided through Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP) created additional 20, 000 jobs for youths and women.

He said that EEFP and other trade facilitation and improved export market access programmes were established to facilitate foreign trade and create more jobs.

According to him, this is achieved through programmes such as export finance, infrastructure, capacity development, and market access.

“The industry, trade and Investment sector is critical to the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy, job creation and poverty reduction.

“And as a ministry, we deliver on this mandate by creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, establishing an industrial base, lubricating the wheels of commerce and instilling confidence in economic activities,’’ the minister said.

He said that the ministry created a strategic plan to diversify the Nigerian economy for growth, job creation and poverty reduction.

“The blueprint included industrialisation, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) growth, investment acceleration and trade promotion.

“Process digitisation, anti-smuggling measures and a delivery framework enabled it.

Adebayo said that the ministry inaugurated several initiatives aimed at fostering the growth of MSMEs.

According to him, these include measures to improve MSMEs’ access to finance, market access and operational cost reduction.

“From 2019 to July 2022, the Federal Government successfully disbursed approximately N785 billion through the Bank of Industry (BoI) to more than 10 million MSMEs.

“This was made possible by BoI expanding its capital base to five billion dollars with international partners such as AFREXIM and Credit Suisse among others,’’ he said.

Adebayo also said that the ministry revised the MSMEs policy to drive the growth and competitiveness of MSMEs in the country.

“And we successfully increased the nation’s capacity to fund tech driven MSMEs by securing the 500 million dollar Technology Fund through our collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB),’’ he said.

While noting that the MSMEs sector was still struggling, Adebayo said that the National Policy on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises advanced MSMEs growth.

“We know this crucial sector struggles. The policy helps resolve these concerns. The MSMEs Market Hub facilitates customer-MSMEs relations.

He also said that the 500 million dollar investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) fund sponsored by BoI, AfDB, Islamic Development Bank, and Agence Française de Development might revolutionise Nigeria’s digital and creative MSMEs sector.

Adebayo said that BoI had given grants and low-interest loans to 4.3 million MSMEs through various intervention initiatives.

The minister, however, said that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the MSMEs Survival Fund Initiative was inaugurated as part of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).

He said that the initiative protected MSMEs from the shock of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“As of July 2022, N67.5 billion had been distributed to more than 1.2 million beneficiaries, saving and creating jobs,’’ the minister said.