President of the Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Degun Agboade, yesterday, hinted that Federal Government has concluded plans to disburse N4.9b to operators and employees in the transport sector to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He stated this in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, at the launch of the transport sector tracking of the scheme, noting that the money was not a loan, but a grant from the Federal Government to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on transport workers.
Agboade, who is also a member of the Steering Committee of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund and Guarantee Scheme, said 4,500 workers would benefit from the scheme in each of the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
Represented by a member of NASME Board of Trustees, Ubadigbo Okonkwo, he said, the Federal Government would disburse N30000 to each of the beneficiaries across the federation.
“The Federal Government through the Steering Committee of the MSMEs Survival Fund and Guarantee Scheme will ensure that key agencies and organisations like SMEDAN will be involved in the process to ensure that the money gets to the beneficiaries,” he said.
He listed the target beneficiaries as all drivers in the transport sector including okada and tricycle drivers, adding that mechanics, wheelbarrow pushers and others would also benefit from the scheme.
“It is a grant, not a loan and this is one of the schemes the President Muhammadu Buhari administration initiated to help cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Agboade added
Ebonyi State Commissioner for Human Capital Development, Ann Aligwe, urged the Federal Government to increase the number of beneficiaries.
“We have a lot of people in Ebonyi State who need such interventions from the Federal Government. If they can bring in buses, tricycles, motorcycles and distribute to the people for free, we will appreciate it as it will engage more people gainfully,” she said.
Chairman, Tipper Drivers Union (TDU), Aliede Chibuzor, commended the Federal Government for the scheme, which he said, would go a long way to alleviate the sufferings of members.
The launch of the transport sector track of the scheme took place simultaneously in Ebonyi (Southeast), Abuja (North Central), Katsina (Northwest) and Lagos (Southwest).