A broadcast message has been circulating on WhatsApp claiming the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is currently providing support funds for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through a link. ROUNDCHECK got the claim on August 4, 2022.
The full text of the post reads:
FGN Special Intervention Fund for MSME is currently providing funds for small business owner
This is an opportunity for you to get fund to start or boost your business
Registration Portal has been Opened
Note: Check if your eligible to get a FGN Special Intervention Fund for MSME
Click below to visit the official disbursment site
Payment has started for early applicants. Registration is on going now!!
We first observed the message to have grammatical errors and a suspicious link. Hence, the need to verify the message. One of the red flags is the use of ‘Opened’ instead of ‘opened’, at the end of a sentence; the spelling of ‘disbursement’ instead of ‘disbursement’; among other red flags of grammatical errors and sentence structure.
The FGN Special Intervention Fund For MSME
According to the Bank of Industry, the FGN Special Intervention Fund is an initiative to provide subsidized loans for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) at a single-digit (9% per annum) all-inclusive interest rate. The Fund is also to cater to applications received from SMEDAN under the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) Scheme.
To access the fund, a link is usually provided for applicants to register. According to a 2020 report by a financial media outlet, Nairametrics, which provides information on how applicants can register for the funds; beneficiaries are expected to provide personal registration details, activate their account, and register their organization after they have successfully activated their account.
Also, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Number, Bank Verification Number (BVN), SMEDAN Number, a Tax ID (optional), and the organization’s bank account details will be needed.
The authentic link provided by FG for beneficiaries to access the funds contains links that require a registered applicant to login into it– after creating an account, unlike the circulating link where there is no creating of an account.
A click on the link in the message shows a home page with the same logo as Bank of Industry on it.
Personal information about an applicant’s qualification was requested on the next page.
We noticed that an individual can access the next page without creating an account. This is not the same on the original page.
On the next page, applicants were required to click on a box to the question of whether they are a “business owner”.
Site Changes Link
However, it was observed that the link changes to “lawyer.nijaplay.com.Getfund”. The changing of links is a red flag that the claim is not true.
Another claim on the site is that “602223 Registration slots Left for the FGN Special Intervention Fund for MSME”. The site also claims that 117377 have been funded and it closes on August 30th.”
Even after the month of August ended, the website is still accessible.
It was also noted that even by clicking “No, I’m not” to whether one owns a business or not, one can access the next page of the form.
On the next page, applicants are asked about their regions and what the fund will be used for.
The last page reveals a congratulatory message and the next step required for an applicant to access the fund. It noted that applicants are qualified but must share the post on WhatsApp groups to access the fund.
The full text of the congratulatory messages reads:
Congratulations, you are eligible for the FGN Special Intervention Fund for MSME.
How to get your fund as a small business owner
1.BefIn total, 490,408 employees received between N30,000 and N50,000 as three months’ salaries in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Artisan and Transport Scheme was designed to provide a one-off N30,000 grant to 333,000 beneficiaries.ore you continue, click the green button “SHARE” and send this to 5 Whatsapp Groups (Only Groups) for other members to benefit from this.
2.After the sharing, you will be taken to a page to finish application and get funded.
Although the trust score of the link by Scam adviser is 100/100, it is, however, noted under its positive highlights that the link was created with a strong code. Yet, under its negative highlights, Scam adviser stated that the link has been sanctioned or blacklisted.
Furthermore, ROUNDCHECK discovered that on August 2, 2022, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum said the FG had disbursed over N66 billion to 1.258 million Nigerians under its Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund and Guarantee Off-Take Scheme.
According to the minister, in total 490,408, employees received between N30,000 and N50,000 as three months’ salaries in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Artisan and Transport Scheme was designed to provide a one-off N30,000 grant to 333,000 beneficiaries.
ROUNDCHECK observed that the funds by the FG were tagged Fund and Guarantee Off-Take Scheme and not “FGN Special Intervention Fund” as claimed by the website in circulation.
Further checks on the website of the Bank of Industry reveal that no post or information relating to any recently launched initiative by the FGN.
ROUNDCHECK checked the social media pages of BOI but no information on the claimed funds was found at the time of this report.
The viral post on WhatsApp with the claim that the FGN is currently providing funding for MSME is INCORRECT. It is a SCAM to collect personal details of unsuspecting applicants through the link
Editor’s Note: During the period of this report, we noticed that the original link used by FG for the beneficiaries to register in the previous application is broken and no longer active.
This report was written by Quadri Yahya under the ROUNDCHECK’s Volunteers Network Project 2022 under the guidance of the editorial team.
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