By Philip Yatai
The Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) said it received over 10,000 applications from Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) in the Federal Capital Territory, to access the World Bank-supported Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery Plan and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) programme.
Mr Chudi Ugwuada-Ezirigwe, acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the agency disclosed this at a one-day training of 1,000 selected SMSEs for the programme in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ugwuada-Ezirigwe explained that the N-CARES programme was introduced by the World Bank in 2020 to mitigate the adverse effects of COVID-19 on businesses in Nigeria, through a support fund to facilitate the recovery of SMSEs.
He said that since the introduction of the programme, the AEA had ensured a robust, diligent and consistent implementation of the intervention in the six Area Councils of the territory.
“After weeks of intensive sensitisation across the six area councils, the agency received over 10,000 applications, out of which over 1,000 SMSEs were selected for training.
“The beneficiaries were selected after a painstaking process in line with the World Bank criteria,” he said.
He urged the beneficiaries to use the grants to stimulate their businesses in line with the World Bank standard, and warned against using the funds as pocket money.
He described SMSEs as one of the major drivers of economic growth and development across the world, adding that President Bola Tinubu-led administration was prioritising SMSEs development in the country.
Earlier, the Lead Operations of FCT-CARES, Hajiya Hauwa Zambuk, urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the training and the financial support to rebuild and expand their collapsed businesses for more returns.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Wilson Ameh, commended AEA, FCT, Federal Government and the World Bank for the support, which he said would turn their businesses around and improve their quality of life.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the beneficiaries were trained on financial literacy, access to loan, and how to address challenges associated with SMSEs. (NAN)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman