The statement signed by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, on Thursday in Abuja, said the Survival Fund was part the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a component of the ESP, which was developed by the Economic Sustainability Committee, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said that the implementation of the Payroll Support Scheme was in furtherance of Federal Government’s commitment to support small businesses to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The MSME Survival Fund, a component of the ESP, is generally designed to, among other things; support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their different obligations and safeguard jobs in the sector.

“So far, 101,567 verified employees drawn from 16,250 businesses have received their first monthly payment from the Survival Fund’s Payroll Support Scheme, designed to support vulnerable MSMEs by paying the salaries of their staff for a period of three months.

“Verification is still ongoing as the payroll support scheme targets supporting 500,000 beneficiaries with payment of up to N50,000 per employee during the duration of three months, starting from October.’’

Akande said that registration for the Payroll Support commenced on Sept. 21 for different categories of MSMEs – education, hospitality and other sectors and ended on Oct. 15.

“The requirements needed for the application include: the employees’ company must be registered in Nigeria under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC); must have a BVN; the business must have staff strength of at least three persons with proof of monthly salary payment and must be owned by a Nigerian in Nigeria.

“All successful applicants had received SMS and email verification with a list of requirements for the second stage of application, while applicants/businesses were required to upload their details and documents supporting their applications for verification.’’

The presidential aide said that the commencement of payment for beneficiaries of the Survival Fund payroll support followed that of the ongoing N30, 000 one-time grant payments to artisans nationwide.

He said that the payments were being made to sets of verified beneficiaries of the Artisan Support Scheme, a track under the MSMEs Survival Fund.

According to Akande, the Artisans’ scheme is paying one-time grants of N30, 000 to a total of 333,000 beneficiaries across the country.

He said that in the first stream of payments which started in October, beneficiaries were drawn from the FCT, Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Plateau and Delta States.

“They form the first batch of applications for the scheme submitted between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10.

“The Survival Fund grant has been designed to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the most vulnerable MSMEs across Nigeria, targeting 1.7 million individuals and entities across Nigeria.

“The MSMEs Survival Fund is a conditional grant to support vulnerable micro and small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard Jobs in the MSMEs sector.

“The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per state.

“The scheme made provision for a 45 per cent female business participation and five per cent participation of persons with special needs,’’ he said.