The Federal Government says it may consider the plea by some states for the extension of the registration time for the payroll support system to enable some states to meet their quota.
This is as the government plans to pay over 400,000 staff of already shortlisted businesses by the end of October. The Special Assistant to the President on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Mr Tola Johnson, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday. He said that since the closure of the portal on Oct. 15, many states have sent in their appeal for an extension.
Johnson, who is also the Project Coordinator, said he is considering the appeal for recommendation to the Survival Fund Steering Committee. According to him, only the Steering Committee headed by the Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Hajiya Mariam Katagun, has the power to approve an extension. “The Project Delivery Office (PDO) which I head, is taking that plea to the Steering Committee, headed by the Minister, to see if the committee will use data and determine either to extend or not to extend.
“The decision to extend or not will be data-based, it will be looking at what we have, the states that have applied, the states that were successful, the states that were not successful and why we need to extend or not. “The number of states that have met their quota are slightly below 20, so there is a strong cry for extension and in my own opinion it is valid, but the decision lies in the hands of the steering committee. “As the project coordinator, I have to convince them based on data analysis and we believe that we will get feedback on that shortly,” he said.
He said that over 400,000 businesses had applied for the Payroll Support out of which about 70,000 had been shortlisted. Johnson said that the shortlisted business were those who met the criteria stipulated, pointing out that many businesses that did not meet the criteria went ahead to apply upon the commencement of registration. He said that the about 70,000 businesses shortlisted have presented over 400,000 staffs to be paid by the government under the scheme. “As at the day the portal closed we had about 432,000 businesses that had applied, however, we have short listed less than 70,000 businesses that qualify and meet the requirements.
“When we say payroll support all forms of businesses went to apply, even businesses that do not meet the requirements went to apply. “We had requirements like you must have this number of staffs, but nobody cared everybody just went first to apply before looking at the requirements. “The number of businesses that meet those requirements is slightly below 70,000 and those businesses uploaded about 400,000 staff that they want us to pay for three months,” he said. The Presidential aide hinted that the Federal Government planned to commence payment of the shortlisted staff by the end of October.
He said that the government wanted to quickly move to the next phase of the Survival Fund implementation. Giving insight into the scheme, he said that the Federal Government introduced the survival fund to ensure that businesses do not die and that companies do not start laying off its workers. He said that the fund specifically targeted Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, with the payroll support system targeted at between three to 10 staff of businesses that meet the requirement.
“The payroll support is targeted at businesses that employ 10 to 50 people and we now pay 10 of those people from among the 50 employees. “We pay them between 30,000 and 50,000 naira but the minimum we pay is 3 staff for three months to support their businesses and to ensure that we are helping businesses to augment their salaries. “The Federal Government cannot possibly pay every worker or business but we can chip in something to lessen the headache of those businesses so that is what we use the payroll for,” he said.
He noted that the PDO was also beginning the implementation of the Artisans Support Scheme which he said was aimed at making a one-off payment of N30,000 to those that qualify. He hinted that the scheme has been modified to be implemented in batches of 12 states to enable the PDO to monitor its implementation, adding that only artisans that belong to associations would be recognized.
To ensure transparency, he said that payments on all the schemes would be made directly to the beneficiaries using the BVN to ensure that there are no multiple beneficiaries. He said that the PDO had also been partnering with the media and other stakeholders to give updates of the scheme and ensure that the process is transparent. He called on women and those with special needs across the country to participate and register so as to fill the quota set aside for them by the Federal Government.