FG approves $20m tech fund for young innovators, to provide N90bn soft loan facility for small scale agric enterprises
VP Yemi Osinbajo
In furtherance of the Buhari administration’s drive to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Bank of Industry has approved a $20M technology fund for young innovators, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is offering a N90 Billion soft loan facility for small scale agriculture enterprises.
This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity,
Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande.
According to him, these were some of the outcomes of a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, which was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, to review progress on the Buhari administration’s efforts to support MSMEs.
It would be recalled that the National MSMEs clinics driven by the Vice President has now reached 26 States, with more Clinics to come in the series.
Also, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is now poised more than ever to register more Nigerians venturing into the food and drug businesses.
According to the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Kayode Pitan, the $20 million technology fund was part of measures of the bank to support the Buhari administration and encourage technology innovators grow the technology sector. He disclosed that the Bank’s board has approved the soft loan fund already.
He explained that technology innovators and startups would be supported through the fund to grow viable businesses in the technology sector, adding that National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), represented also at the meeting would monitor progress made by beneficiaries of the fund.
On his part, the Director General of NITDA, Mr Kashif Inuwa said in line with the Federal Government’s agenda on leveraging technology in diversifying the economy, the agency has so far licensed 27 Data Protection Companies.
In the agricultural sector, the Central Bank through the National Microfinance Bank is offering N90 billion soft loan facility to small scale agricultural enterprises under the Agric-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS).
So far, and in just within weeks, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the 56 branches of the National Microfinance Bank across the country has disbursed N20 billion to 7000 beneficiaries already, with plans to give out N5 billion monthly to more beneficiaries in the country.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the other hand, says it is now poised more than ever to register more Nigerians willing to venture into the food and drug businesses by unveiling its e-registration platform for ease of registration and is offering a 75% reduction in the cost of product registration to commence soon.
The NAFDAC DG, Prof. Moji Adeyeye said the move was to address challenges faced by owners of small businesses in the registration of their products. She said the agency believes this will also lead to job creation.
Equally, the Corporate Affairs Commission is reviewing its business name registration processes by removing unnecessary interferences that cost prospective business owners extra money to register with the commission.
Under the new arrangement, prospective business owners can walk into any CAC office nationwide and register a business name by themselves without the assistance of a lawyer, an accountant or any middle-person.
In the same vein, the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, disclosed plans to commence the registration of MSMEs in the country as part of measures to build a comprehensive database of MSMEs for the purposes of planning, coordination and development.
Present at the meeting were the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, CEO of NEPC, Mr Segun Awolowo; MD of BOI, Mr. Kayode Pitan; MD of NEXIM Bank, Mr Abubakar Bello; MD of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Aliyu Abdulhameed; MD of Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Kabir Adamu; Directors General: of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda; NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye; NITDA, Mr Kashif Inuwa; Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Prof. Hussaini Doko Ibrahim; and representatives of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), amongst other stakeholders.