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Tinubu To ‘Energise’ SMEs Sector With N125bn, Acquire 3,000 CNG-Fuelled Mass-transit Buses

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President Bola Tinubu on Monday revealed his administration’s plans to “energise” the sector with N125 billion, as part of its efforts to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal.

This is even as the President promised to roll out buses across the states and local governments for mass transit at a much more affordable rate.

Tinubu, who spoke in a pre-recorded address to Nigerians, reeled out palliative programmes for various economic sectors, including manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation.

On small businesses, he said, “Our administration recognises the importance of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector as drivers of growth. We are going to energise this very important sector with N125 billion.

“Out of the sum, we will spend N50 billion on Conditional Grant to 1 million nano businesses between now and March 2024. Our target is to give N50,000 each to 1,300 nano business owners in each of the 774 local governments across the country.”

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The President added that, ultimately, the programme would further drive financial inclusion by onboarding beneficiaries into the formal banking system.

“In like manner, we will fund 100,000 MSMEs and start-ups with N75 billion. Under this scheme, each enterprise promoter will be able to get between N500,000 to N1million at 9% interest per annum and a repayment period of 36 months,” he said.

On the mass transit buses across the states and local governments at a much more affordable rate, he said that his government has made provision to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 for the purchase of 3,000 units of 20-seater buses running on compressed natural gas (CNG).

This is part of some palliatives the President disclosed during a national broadcast on Monday to cushion the effects of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians.

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According to Tinubu, “these buses will be shared with major transportation companies in the states, using the intensity of travel per capital.”

He added that participating transport companies will be able to access credit under this facility at 9% per annum with 60 months repayment period.

The President also said that the government is working in collaboration with the Labour unions to introduce a new national minimum wage for workers.

“I want to tell our workers this: your salary review is coming,” he said.

“Once we agree on the new minimum wage and general upward review, we will make budget provision for it for immediate implementation.”

The President also commended many private employers in the Organised Private Sector who have already implemented general salary review for employees.

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While admitting that this period may be hard on the people, Tinubu appealed to Nigerians to look beyond the present temporary pains and aim at the larger picture, saying that “all of our good and helpful plans are in the works. More importantly, I know that they will work.”

The President also conceded to the fact that there was an unavoidable lag between subsidy removal and these plans coming fully online but said the government is swiftly closing the gap.

“I plead with you to please have faith in our ability to deliver and in our concern for your well-being,” he further appealed.