Over 7,000 small-scale business owners and artisans have been captured to benefit from the Federal Government’s COVID-19 intervention fund in Ogun State.

The beneficiaries, according to the Coordinator of Ogun State Coordinating Units (Ogun SOCU), ‘Tunde Adebiyi, would get N5,000 each for six months to augment their capital.

Adebiyi disclosed this, yesterday, in an interview with journalists in his office in Abeokuta, the state capital.

He explained that the programme, which was tagged, ‘Rapid Response Register’ is a social intervention by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

Adebiyi added that the register would capture small-scale business owners, petty traders, artisans, the poor and vulnerable living in urban and semi-urban areas in the state as well as others whose businesses were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He disclosed that Ogun SOCU, an arm of the National Social Safety Nets Programme, began a compilation of vulnerable individuals in April 2020 with six local government areas.

According to him, the register would cover 19 local government areas namely – Sagamu, Remo North, Ogun Waterside, Odogbolu, Odeda, Obafemi Owode Ipokia, Imeko Afon, Ikenne, Ijebu North, Ewekoro, Egbado North (Yewa North), Egbado South (Yewa South), Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Ijebu North East, Ifo, Ado-Odo Ota and Ijebu Ode, consisting of 49 wards and 1326 communities across the state.

Adebiyi said 400,000 beneficiaries will be captured in the register at the end of the exercise.

“We are trying to gather and collate these people and put them up in a register for necessary assistance that will take them out of the pandemic effect.

“So far, we have been able to capture over 7,000 people on the RRR second register. We are looking at capturing over 400,000 people on the RRR register.

“Our people are responding, but we need more responses. We need people to take advantage of it, especially those of us that are business owners that are affected by COVID-19.

“Indeed, the money might not be enough to start us up again, but it could be a push to reduce the burden on our capital that has already depleted. So, those people that are artisans, mechanics, petty traders that had their businesses affected by the pandemic can take advantage of it,” he said.

“It is not really about the money, although they will receive N5,000 for six months, the advantage of it is that we are having a database of those people that are affected by COVID-19. It is not about the money, but it is about the fact that we are creating a database of endemic people, people that have been affected negatively by the pandemic, people that have experienced shock which is beyond them,” he said.