Nigeria’s federal government implemented a number of programs to help mitigate COVID-19’s negative effects on households and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which the administration hoped could preserve the country’s economy.
Professor Yemi Osibanjo’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) included a number of intervention programs to help poor Nigerians and MSMEs, which Osibanjo believes are the backbone of any economy.
Among these are the following programs:
1. Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP)
The Agriculture For Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP) was launched by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in 2020 to assist peasant farmers in obtaining zero-interest loans for farming purposes.
The Federal Government’s project, commonly called to as FMARDpace, aimed to benefit two million farmers across the country. Beneficiaries from batches A and B of the N-POWER program were trained and sent to all of the country’s council wards to capture farmers and their farms. According to the government, this data will aid in compiling a comprehensive database of farmers across the country.
The Brazilian government partnered with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on June 16, 2021, and offered the ministry €995 million to help it achieve its goals in the agricultural sector of the economy.
In September 2021, the ministry used SANEF to obtain account numbers for about 800,000 farmers and paid between N3,000 and N28,000 into their accounts, before stopping the distribution to open new accounts with GTB for the captured farmers. This year, the initiative is expected to be properly implemented.
2. Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP)
The Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), launched the “Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP)” in 2016, four years before the pandemic.
Small Loans and farming inputs such as seedlings, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides were provided to small holder farmers (peasant farmers) as part of this program to prevent various pests from harming crops.
A farmer cultivating one hectare of land was paid N200,000 under the Anchor Borrower Program. In other words, a hectare was valued at N200,000, including inputs.
3. COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility (TCF)
During the lockdown in March 2020, the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), launched one of the most well-received government programs in the current administration.
The goal of the initiative was to lessen the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on households and micro, small, and medium businesses (MSMEs).
According to the CBN, everyone who has been impacted by the pandemic in some manner can apply, and if approved, will be granted the appropriate sum. Though a person could apply for the maximum Household limit of N3 million, he or she could be accepted for less; approval was based on the applicant’s bank account’s cash flow.
The initiative benefited over half a million households and MSMEs, and it continues to do so. The CBN has designated NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) to manage the program, which will expire in 2022.
4. National Youths Investment Fund (NYIF)
The Federal Government, under the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development (FMYSD), launched the National Youths Investment Fund in September of the same year 2020, which many saw as the worst policy of the Buhari administration.
The program, which aims to help Nigerian youths with their ideas by providing soft loans ranging from N250,000 to N3,000,000. Only a few Youths benefited from the program throughout the first period of its implementation. This initiative will also be completed this year.
5. Survival Fund
The Federal Government’s Survival Fund is another program that has been successfully implemented. This is a program of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), which is led by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo and implemented by the Steering Committee, which is chaired by the Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment, Amb. Mrs. Miriam Katagum.
Many businesses were badly impacted by the COVID-19 lockout, particularly those selling perishables. In light of this, the Federal Economic Council established the Survival Fund through the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
Employees of private sector enterprises were paid monthly salaries ranging from N30, 000 to N50, 000 for a maximum of ten employees under this program. As a result of numerous enterprises and individuals benefiting from the Federal Government’s initiative, it became a reality. However, around 33,000 certified recipients have yet to get the stimulus.
During the inaugural meeting of the Federal Economic Council in January, the Steering Committee guaranteed unpaid beneficiaries that they would be paid this year.
6. Trader, Market and Farmer Moni
The Trader, Market, and Farmer Moni was launched in 2017 by the Federal Economic Council (FEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo to help small traders with small loans ranging from N10, 000 to N300, 000.
Small loans of N10, 000 were issued to peti-traders by the Bank of Industry under Trader Moni (BOI). The loans were supposed to be repaid within six months after their distribution.
Peti-traders and craftsmen were given soft loans of N50,000 under Market Moni, which they were required to repay within six months.
Peasant farmers received N300,000 under Farmer Moni to invest in agricultural cultivation and return after harvest. The program is still in progress, but it is projected to conclude this year.