L-R Mr. Philip Ogunsakin Chairman (FCT) Nigeria Automobile Association & Informal Sector (NATA), Comrade Wisdom Okputa; State Marshal, (FCT) (NATA), Comrade Ifeanyi Chukwu Nebechi and State Secretary (FCT) (NATA), Mr. Tola Johnson, SA MSMEs, Mr. Laolu Akande, SSA Media & Publicity and Comrade Babatunde Yusuf, beneficiary of the grant.

The N30, 000 one-time grant for artisans, under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) is real and the disbursement of funds under the scheme is going on across the first set of States, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.

Mr. Akande stated this in Abuja on Thursday during Radio Nigeria’s live phone-in programme “Have Your Say”, where he was featured alongside the Special Assistant on MSMEs, Mr. Tola Johnson and a number of the FCT-based beneficiaries of the N30,000 grant.

According to him, “I will like to tell Nigerians that this programme is for real that is why we have invited some of the leaders of the artisan groups and beneficiaries here in Abuja to come and speak directly to Nigerians.

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On ground to authenticate the genuineness of the scheme based on the testimonies of their members were representatives of the various artisans’ groups, as well as beneficiaries in the FCT.

They include the Chairman (FCT) Nigeria Automobile Association & Informal Sector (NATA), Mr. Philip Ogunsakin; Vice-Chairman Informal Sector Artisans Association, Abuja, Comrade Wisdom Okputa; State Marshal, (FCT) Nigeria Automobile Association & Informal Sector (NATA), Comrade Ifeanyi Chukwu Nebechi; and State Secretary (FCT) Nigeria Automobile Association & Informal Sector (NATA), including one of the direct beneficiaries, Comrade Babatunde Yusuf.

They all spoke at the Radio show, attesting to the disbursements of the money to them or members of their associations.

Comrade Yusuf Babatunde said “it amazed me when I received my grant last week Thursday and I was so happy because I had only N250 left in my account when it arrived. It went a long way to get some parts for my Car AC business.”

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Comrade Wisdom Okputa, Vice Chairman, Informal Sector Artisans Association of Abuja, said: “Some people have benefitted and they are happy and at the last meeting, they testified and are using the money to build up their businesses and those who don’t have tools, bought tools, those without spraying machine have also bought.”

Akande then recalled that he had mentioned on the National Radio Station last week that “one of the things that you cannot take away from President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is that they are men of integrity. When they say they are going to do something, they do everything in their power to get it done.”

Speaking about the commitment of the Buhari administration to ensure that the objectives of the scheme are achieved, Mr. Akande said “this Artisan Support that the SA on MSMEs has talked about is a grant that is going to go 333,000 Nigerians across the country. This government, the Buhari administration, is committed to supporting the common man. The government is committed to supporting small business owners in whatever way it can. As you must have heard from the testimonies of leaders of the artisan groups and some of the beneficiaries in Abuja about the success of the scheme, I can assure you that it is the same thing that is happening across the country.”

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While calling on Nigerians in states currently undergoing enumeration to take advantage of the scheme, Mr Johnson said nobody should pay anyone in order to benefit from the scheme, noting that all the various tracks under the scheme are free of charge.

Aside from the FCT, beneficiaries from Plateau, Bauchi, Lagos, Anambra, Abia, Borno, Rivers, Kano, Kaduna, Delta and Ondo States, started receiving their credit alerts on Thursday, October 29, 2020.