The Bank of Industry (BoI) has secured a $1 billion loans to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment disclosed this, on Monday, at the Quantum Mechanics Limited MSMEs Survival Fund capacity building programme in Abuja.

Adebayo, in a statement by Ifedayo Sayo, his Special Assistant on Media, said the loan would improve the capacity of the bank to effectively support MSMEs across key sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Adebayo said the loan, being implemented in conjunction with international partners, had a long-term tenor, alongside moratorium benefits.

According to him, this is part of its efforts toward economic recovery and sustainable growth.

“There is an ongoing discussion with Dunn and Bradstreet to establish a SMEs Ratings Agency of Nigeria (SMERAN) to provide an empirical basis toward analysing the eligibility of SMEs to access credit.

The minister also reiterated the ministry’s support for MSMEs development as demonstrated by the MSMEs Survival Fund Initiative.

The fund was launched by the Federal Government, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the government’s Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).

NESP is aimed at protecting MSMEs businesses from the shocks of the pandemic, Adebayo said.

“The fund comprises the Payroll Support Scheme which aims at supporting MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs by paying up to N50,000 to a maximum of 10 employees for three months.

“The Artisan and Transport Grant supports self-employed artisans with a one-off payment of N30,000 targeting 333,000 individuals.

“The General MSMEs Grant will provide 100,000 MSMEs with one-off grants of N50,000 each.

“And the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme aims at engaging approximately, 100,000 businesses nationwide to produce items typically manufactured in their locality, targeting 300,000 beneficiaries.

“The scheme supports free registration of companies for 250,000 beneficiaries,” he said.

He explained that the fund was also estimated to save at least, 1.3 million jobs across the country while strengthening the growth potential of beneficiary businesses.

Adebayo stressed that the successful implementation of the scheme so far had contributed immensely to pulling Nigeria quickly out of the COVID-19 -induced recession.

The minister said the National MSMEs Clinics also supported the growth of small businesses across the country through the provision of critical infrastructure, with 26 of such clinics showing impressive results.

He further disclosed that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) had launched the Export Expansion Facility (EEF) under the NESP, to support the resilience of new and existing MSMEs to respond to COVID-19 pandemic shocks.

This would retain and create more jobs, especially for youths and women businesses through the Youth Export Development Programme and Promoting women inclusiveness in non-oil export, he added.