Federal Government is considering a possible extension of registration for the Survival Fund initiative launched as part of COVID-19 palliative support to minimise impact of the pandemic on small businesses.

The Special Assistant to the President on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Mr Tola Johnson, disclosed this on Monday to News Agency of Nigeria NAN in Abuja.

He said since the closure of the portal on Oct. 15, many states have sent in their appeal for an extension, as the government was planning to pay over 400,000 staff of already shortlisted businesses by the end of this month.

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” he stated.

Giving insight into the scheme, Mr Tola Johnsonid said Federal Government introduced the survival fund to ensure that businesses do not die and that companies do not start laying off its workers.

He noted that the PDO wasalso beginning the implementation of the Artisans Support Scheme was aimed at making a one-off payment of N30,000 to those that qualify.

The Special Assistant hinted that the scheme had been modified to be implemented in batches of 12 states to enable the PDO 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.