The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is reported to have begun the disbursement of funds to entrepreneurs in Benue State, Nigeria, under the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) of the agency.
According to the Benue State manager of SMEDAN, the person of Oryiman Alu, the agency in partnership with stakeholders and other key organizations had selected, verified and trained more than 90 micro business owners in each of the local government areas of Benue State.
According to him, this translates to well over 2,000 beneficiaries across the state with each of them receiving funding support of USD 140 in grants. Oryiman disclosed exclusively that USD 29 K is the total amount allotted for the grant scheme in the state, with a total of 2,070 beneficiaries.
He also disclosed that the CGS is a pilot scheme running in six states of Nigeria, with one in each of the six geopolitical zones – Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Ebonyi, Kastina, Oyo and Gombe states. The funds are sourced from the national budget of SMEDAN programs, he disclosed.
The manager also said that to supervise beneficiaries to ensure appropriate use of funds, the agency carries out a post-training support to all beneficiaries in partnership with stakeholders in the state who also nominate some of them. He said SMEDAN had designed a monitoring schedule which covers the 23 local government areas, with the program’s aim being to support beneficiaries in the registration of their businesses in the registration of their businesses with CAC at no extra costs.
The 2013 national MSME survey revealed that a majority of small businesses in Nigeria are informal, and the program with regards to that aims to address the challenge and enable these businesses to establish and build on banking relationships.
The Director-General of SMEDAN, Dikko Radda, said that the agency has put in place appropriate measures to formalize MSMEs in Nigeria because 98 percent of them are informal. According to him, the conditional grant scheme was tailored to formalize the informal sector of MSMEs, as well as motivate them to embrace corporate governance.