By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government says it will create and save over five million jobs by leveraging on its COVID-19 economic recovery plans.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.
The statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Julius Toba-Jegede, said mechanisms have already been put in place to ensure such massive jobs are created especially in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector.
He said about 1.4 million jobs of Nigerians, with 40 percent of them in female-owned MSMEs and 10 percent in businesses belonging to people with special needs will also be protected by government intervention policies.
The minister noted that the move is part of his ministry’s input in playing a leading role in the Federal Government’s delivery of Real Sector interventions of its Economic Sustainability Plan in the wake of the global pandemic.
The minister, who was quoted as explaining the various measures taken by the government to create and protect jobs in the country, gave an overview of such programmes to include the MSME Survival Fund, the Guaranteed Offtake Stimulus Scheme and the Credit Support to MSMEs and Priority Sector.
“These interventions will save and create about five million jobs, support continued operations and increase in production capacity in priority sectors and protect MSMEs from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We expect that the Survival Fund will save 1.4 million jobs across the country with 40 percent of them in the female-owned MSMEs and 10 per cent in businesses owned by persons with special needs.
”The Guaranteed Offtake Stimulus Scheme’s objective is to protect jobs, stimulate economic activities across the country and protect the income of vulnerable MSMEs by guaranteeing offtake of items produced by these businesses. The scheme will save an additional 300,000 jobs in MSMEs nationwide.
“The Credit Support to MSMEs and Priority Sector will provide affordable finance to key sectors impacted by the pandemic and enable increase in manufacturing capacity in priority sectors. This scheme will save and create an additional three million jobs and will be implemented through N50 billion MSME de-risking facility, N100 billion intervention fund for priority sectors.
“These sectors include healthcare, agro-processing, creative industry, local oil and gas and exports.
“There will also be a N150 billion Capitalization Fund and a N50 billion Export Expansion Facility,” he said.
The Minister added that the programmes had been designed with a robust governance structure and a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure their successful implementation.