UK announces £20million Anti-Coronavirus aid to Africa
The United Kingdom has said it has earmarked £20million to be given to Africa as Anti-COVID-19 fund.
The fund was set up to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in African Union’s 55 member states.
A statement on Thursday by the British High Commission in Nigeria said the aid will be used to recruit African health experts, strengthen global tracking of the pandemic, combat harmful misinformation, provide specialist training for health workers and make information about the virus more accessible to the public.
International Development Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “As the UK faces its biggest peacetime challenge in tackling coronavirus, it’s never been more important to work with our partners in Africa to fight disease.
“No one is safe until we are all safe and this new funding and support for African leadership will help protect us all – in the UK, Africa and around the world – from further spread of the virus.”
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing said: “The truly global scale of the current crisis means that international cooperation and solidarity is more important than ever.
“This £20million UK funding contribution to the African Union will provide important additional support to Nigeria and other countries across Africa and is a testament to the fact that the UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Nigeria in our collective challenge to defeat this terrible virus.”
Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Micro Small and Medium and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), says 100,000 small businesses will get N50,000 each.
NAN reports that the gesture is part of COVID-19 economic stimulus.
The presidential aide made the announcement at the inauguration of the Implementation of Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Schemes for MSMEs on Thursday in Abuja.
Johnson, the Project Coordinator, said that the schemes were part of the Economic Sustainability Plan drafted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Payroll Support targets 100,000 businesses. However, the number of individuals who will benefit from this is 500,000. What the government has done is to say that there a lot of MSMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“Afterward, there is a CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) free registration; it is free for the MSMEs but the government is paying the CAC for this. What the government has done is to say to the CAC, you do this regularly to the MSMEs at about N12,000 or thereabout; give it to us at half price, we will give it to the MSMEs free.’’
Johnson added that under the National MSMEs Clinic, Osinbajo and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment went to no fewer than 26 states.
He said it was discovered that very creative businesses were not registered.
“They will tell you they don’t have N10,000 to N12,000 to register their businesses. The government had promised that at some point, we will do and I think the opportunity has come now; the opportunity cannot be better than now.’’
The official also announced that under the Survival Fund, the last strap would be the Transport and Artisans Support.
At least 333,000 beneficiaries will get a one-off N30,000 grant, Johnson said.
He added that the government will work with associations, individuals and the Ministry of Transportation to implement the scheme.