The Federal Government has launched the Transport Track of Artisans and Transport Scheme under its Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund to overcome the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic to the economy.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum stated this at the launch of the Transport Track of the Artisans and Transport Scheme in Abuja.
While launching the Transport Track, Amb. Katagum who is also the Chairperson of the Steering Committee on MSMEs Survival Fund and Guaranteed off-take Schemes, said the MSMEs Survival Fund and Guaranteed off-take Schemes had five different tracks approved under the Economic Sustainability plan (ESP) of the Federal Government.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director, Industrial Development Department in the Ministry, Mr. Adewale Bakare said the Transport Track targeted 4,505 beneficiaries in each state across the country.
Amb. Katagum said: “This Track, which is being launched today, will give a one-off grant of 30,000 each to qualified individuals operating in the transport sector. These include Ride share drivers, such as Uber, Bolt, etc., taxi drivers, bus drivers, ‘Keke NAPEP riders, okada riders, cart pushers etc.
“Under the Transport Track, being launched today, applicants are encouraged to apply through their registered associations to be enumerated.
“Individuals who are members of associations but choose not to apply through their association can be enumerated but this ‘independent’ applicant will need proof of membership to be enumerated.
“On this note, I urge Ride share drivers (Uber, Bolt,etc.) taxi drivers, bus drivers, Keke NAPEP riders, commercial motorcycle riders, cart pushers among others to take advantage of this Scheme”, the minister added.
She explained that applicants would access the fund at no cost since the initiative was borne out of the Federal Government’s commitment to help cushion the impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic on the economy.
The minister, while urging leaders of transport associations to mobilize their members to apply for the grant, lauded MSMEs’ performance nationwide and urged the entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the Scheme by applying for any category that suited their needs.
She said that although many Nigerians applied for the grant, there was need for improved awareness creation for MSMEs especially those in the grassroots to key into it.
Amb Katagum further clarified: “It is absolutely free, do not pay anyone to benefit, your money is 30,000 and it will go directly into your bank accounts. Let me emphasize that the government approved all the schemes as grants, and as such, all applicants should not pay money to influence anything because no one can influence anything.”
According to her, for an individual to be eligible, such a person must be a Nigerian, have a verifiable BVN, be a transporter, belong to a transport association and get enumerated.
She elaborated: “To qualify for enumeration, all intending beneficiaries are expected to apply through their (registered) associations.
“Individuals may walk up to our enumerators without routing through their association; but such an individual must have valid proof of membership of the association he/she claims to belong to”, the minister added.
In his remarks, the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs and the Project Coordinator of the Scheme, Mr. Tola Johnson, said 4,505 beneficiaries would be selected in every state of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory and urged beneficiaries to be weary of fraudsters who demand for payment from applicants.
He said that government was paying directly into individuals account and not using any third party.
The leaders of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Musa Zuba and National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr. Lawrence Fadipe, commended the government for the scheme.