By Segun Oye
As the number of successful applications for the MSMEs Survival Fund rise to 174,574, the federal government has warned unsuspecting applicants against fraudsters.
A whopping N75 billion has been earmarked as grant to assist Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) under Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
According to the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Mariam Katagum, no applicant should pay any ‘facilitation fee’ to access the grant.
At a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister, who chairs Programme Steering Committee, said the Project Delivering Office (PDO) for the scheme was receiving feedbacks from Nigerians since its registration portal – www.survivalfund.ng opened on Sept. 21, for applicants.
Katagum therefore cautioned thus:
“Applicants are to access the fund at no cost since the initiative is borne out of the Federal Government’s continued commitment to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
“The Survival Fund will not at any time or for any reason request payment or facilitation fees to access the grants.
“We will, however, like to draw the attention of the public to attempts by scammers and other undesirable elements to swindle innocent Nigerians with promises of assured disbursements for a fee.
“The public is encouraged to report any such nefarious activities to the nearest security agents and follow up with a report to the PDO via the mediums provided on the website.
“The PDO has received reports of some attempted cyber-attacks on the application website.
“We will like to assure the public that the application system is secured with multiple levels of encryption and any information loaded on the official application page is saved from cyber-attacks of any kind.”
The Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs and Project Coordinator for the Survival Fund, Mr. Tola Johnson, said 37 Help Desks have been established across the country to assist applicants.
He also enjoined trade associations and unions to mobilise their members to key into the grant meant to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.