Minister, applicants disagree over malfunctioning presidential business grant portal 

• ‘We are unable to register, generate OTPs’
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, announced that all the technical problems related to the uploading of the National Identification Number (NIN) for participants in the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme also known as the Trade Grant Scheme have been resolved.

The programme is directed at nano businesses under the Presidential Palliative Programme (PPP).

The scheme is supposed to offer a grant of N50,000 per beneficiary, aiming to support one million nano businesses across the 774 local government areas.

According to the minister, the scheme, which was supposed to take off on March 9, 2024, faced a delay because of difficulties in uploading applicants’ NINs to the support portal.

On Sunday, however, she announced that all technical issues affecting delaying the take-off had been resolved.

“Attention, applicants of the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme. We are pleased to announce that the technical issues regarding uploading your NIN have now been resolved. You can now proceed with your application process smoothly,” she stated.

The federal government stipulated that all participants in the trade grant programme must link their NIN to their bank accounts to be considered for the grants. The trade minister stated that this requirement complies with the CBN’s recent directive on account verification with NIN.

However, applicants of the scheme have expressed their displeasure, saying that despite repeated attempts, it is almost impossible to register on the site. Those who have been lucky enough to register, are unable to generate one-time passwords (OTPs) from their telecom providers to upload and link their NIN and other details.

An applicant, Fadase Idowu, lamented that the process has been cumbersome from the start.

“Registering on the portal is so difficult and after several complaints and back and forth, I was able to start registration. I got to the point of NIN linking and one is supposed to get an OTP to do this. Unfortunately, it is almost a week now and there is no OTP from my telecom provider to continue the process. I asked others and it is not peculiar to me as we are all having the same challenge. I am pleading with the minister to fix the problem with the portal once and for all so that we can access the funds,” he said.

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