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Palliative: Boosting Kaduna msme’s

 

By JAMES SWAM

 

Kaduna State Governor Senator Uba Sani unveiled a monumental palliative programme during a televised event, totaling a staggering 11.4 billion naira spanning key areas including cash grants for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), revolving loans for civil servants, food distribution, retirement/death benefits, farm inputs, and household stipends.

Building on the initial phase, this second phase of palliative distribution has attracted significant attention, not only due to its wide-ranging scope but also because of its substantial impact and financial commitment, surpassing the expenditure of the first phase in October 2023.

During the first phase, the focus was on providing stable food to disadvantaged households. Around 210,000 vulnerable homes reportedly received 50kg bags of rice across the 23 local government areas. The impact on beneficiaries was applauded by stakeholders who acknowledged the inclusivity of the process. The involvement of People Living With Disabilities (PLWD), market women, JNI, and CAN in the planning process was commended by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

Governor Uba Sani inaugurated the first phase in Dankande village, Igabi local government area, emphasising that the palliative distribution constituted a “three-phase” programme targeting vulnerable residents across various sectors.

During the flag-off of the second phase last week, the governor was visibly elated having accomplished a pledge he made. This comprehensive palliative programme addressed vital areas crucial to both rural and urban communities. While some residents rejoiced at being selected, others were unlucky. However, the governor reassured that a third phase is forthcoming, offering hope to those yet to benefit.

Among the notable palliatives was the grant for MSMEs, aiming to empower recipients to become self-sufficient rather than reliant on handouts. Fostering self-reliance is essential for boosting the informal sector and stimulating economic growth within households, thereby energizing the state’s economy.

The distribution of cash grants, ranging from N100,000 to N1,000,000, to 7,500 Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, left a lasting impact, despite initial doubts about its realisation. The injection of approximately N4.2 billion into the economy, earmarked for MSMEs, fertilizer, farm inputs, and assistance to vulnerable groups such as smallholder farmers, persons with disabilities, internally displaced persons, orphans, market women, and youths, is expected to invigorate market activities.

From the inception of the first Republic, Kaduna has been renowned for its vibrant commercial landscape, teeming with numerous MSMEs that have drawn substantial revenue into the state. As the erstwhile political hub of the region, Kaduna attracted major distributors, intermediaries, and retailers from diverse locations, all converging to procure goods of varying types.

Although the state’s entrepreneurial spirit may have waned over time, influenced by factors shaping supply and demand, as well as by restrictive regulations impeding the free flow of trade, the infusion of N4.2 billion by the Kaduna state government into the economy, targeted at micro, small, and medium businesses, promises a transformative impact on society. Undoubtedly, we anticipate the resurgence of businesses on street corners, poised to thrive exponentially.

In the foreseeable future, we envision a surge in commercial activities across daily and weekly markets, with enterprising women, widows, and orphans engaging in the sale of waina, bean cake, fried yam, and assorted pap, or managing restaurants at motor parks, shawarma spots, producing soap and cream, etc. Additionally, we anticipate youths actively participating in productive commerce, ranging from ICT ventures and graphic design to aluminum fabrication, metalwork, woodworking, POS operations, sale/repair of phones, and retailing of daily consumables.

In light of the economic challenges that seem to defy conventional principles, drastically reducing families’ purchasing power, citizens must capitalise on government interventions, such as cash grants, to bolster their MSMEs. This is significant given the daily calls for residents to imbibe the culture of self-reliance.

Indeed, the second palliative programme was a major boost to micro, small, and medium businesses in Kaduna state, and Governor Uba Sani would be more than happy to assist more MSMEs with cash grants in the third phase to solidify their enterprises to ginger the informal sector of the economy.

James Swam, a former Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, is the author of ‘How to be an Effective Spokesperson.’

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