The Federal Government says it is putting in place a N75 billion intervention fund to support small businesses in response to the country’s current economic challenges.
The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, said this at the beginning of the 18th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the trade fair is with the theme “Sustainable Financing and Taxation”.
Uzoka-Anite, represented by the Director of Commodity and Export in the ministry, Mr Kaura Irimiya, said the fund, which would be disbursed in March 2024 was to strengthen the manufacturing sector.
The minister said that the Federal Government would also provide small grants to micro businesses in each of the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.
According to her, the government has announced a plan to support small businesses and startups in Nigeria in response to the country’s current economic challenges.
“We intend to spend N75 billion by March 2024 to strengthen the manufacturing sector.
“We also intend to provide small grants to micro businesses in each to the 774 local governments of the federation.
“We have also earmarked a fund of N75 billion that will be used to support up to 100,000 start-ups and MSMEs at single digital interest rates repayable over 36 months.
“Last week, we launched the National Technology Export (NATEP) programme, in partnership with Microsoft.
“And earlier this year we launched the over $600 million Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) program, in partnership with African Development Bank and other partners,’’ she said.
The minister emphasised that empowering MSMEs was key to empowering youths and women and enabling them to contribute to the nation’s economic development.
According to her, the growth of MSMEs has a positive impact on the economy as it enables individuals to support their families and add value.
In his message, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike expressed the administration’s readiness to collaborate with the private sector to reposition economic and business activities in the city.
Represented by the Mandate Secretary, Economic Planning in FCT, Mr Chinedu Elechi, Wike solicited the cooperation of the private sector, especially in the area of taxation toward boosting the FCT internally generated revenue.
Speaking earlier on the theme of the fair, the President of ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, said: “ AITF had served as a trusted global trade destination attracting over 500,000 consumers.’’
He said that the trade fair provided a platform for business relationships, trade opportunities and ideas.
“As a leading chamber of commerce and industry, we continuously strive to improve the quality of our trade events and this year we have added side attractions such as rewards, free jollof rice tasting and a fashion runway to enhance the fair’s appeal,” Abubakar said.
According to him, the trade fair is part of ACCI’s initiative to connect businesses and create a platform for policymakers to interact with the business community, recognising the vital role of small businesses in the national economy.
“We encourage everyone to participate in the 12-day event, engage in business networking and attend special days organised by government Agencies, Ministries and Parastatals, States, private sector and countries,” Abubakar added.