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Registration portal for MSMEs survival funds unavailable hours after it was scheduled to open



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By Abiodun JAMIU

THE registration portal for the Federal Government’s post-COVID-19 stimulus packages for Micros, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is still inaccessible hours after it was scheduled to be opened by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a check by The ICIR has revealed.

In a series of tweets earlier on Monday, the Federal Government had disclosed that the registration portal for the MSME Survival Fund would open at 10 pm, Monday, September 21, 2020

It announced that when the portal opens at 10 pm, it will have educational institutions as the first category of beneficiaries to register.

At 10pm on Monday, the portal was also not available when The ICIR checked.

“As the portal for registration of prospective beneficiaries of #SurvivalFundNG opens today, interested Nigerians in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site will be open from 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020,” the tweet read.

“REGISTRATION SCHEDULE: Registration for #PayrollSupport will start with educational institutions at 10 pm on Monday, Sept 21, 2020, and will be followed by businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday, September 25 beginning from 12 am.”

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The portal will also be open to other categories of small businesses from 12 am, on Mon Sept 28, 2020. Note that the scheduling of registration for prospective beneficiaries is to ensure that the process is seamless & hitch-free. The Portal: http://survivalfund.ng.”

But when The ICIR visited the website at exactly 2:05 am, Tuesday, September, four hours after the scheduled opening, the registration portal was yet to be opened for Nigerians to apply for the package.

A popped up message asked the reporter to check back on Monday September, 21, 2020 at 10:00 pm

The website was unavailable

“UNAVAILABLE Registration opens Monday 21st September 2020 at 10:00 pm” the statement reads.

The scheme, according to Mariam Karahun, Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, in an introductory video on the website, is a product of the Economic Sustainability Committee Plan which was chaired by the Vice President  Yemi Osinbajo, to develop a plan to respond to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To prevent businesses, especially MSMEs, from collapsing, the Committee recommended survival funds for business owners to support and sustain local production from the economic shock of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The scheme which will be implemented over an initial period of three months targets 1.7 million entities and individuals across the country, of which 45 per cent of the beneficiary would be female-owned enterprises, 5 per cent for businesses owned by people living with disabilities.

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According to information on its website, the scheme is divided into three categories; payroll support, formalisation support and general grant. The payroll support is to support 500,000 vulnerable MSMEs in “meeting with payroll obligations of between #30,000 to 50,000 per employee over 3months”

Also, formalisation support is lined to provide free CAC business name registration for 250,000 new business, while General grant is to support the “survival of 100,000 businesses most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with #50,000 each.

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