2nd National Micro, Small And Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Awards
FG AND STATE GOVERNMENTS’ COLLABORATION WILL IMPROVE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT IN NIGERIA
*VP heaps praise on MSMEs awardees for being innovative and hardworking
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE 2ND NATIONAL MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE (MSME) AWARDS, AT THE BANQUET HALL, STATE HOUSE ABUJA, ON THE 1ST OF AUGUST, 2019.
Let me begin by congratulating all our award winners this evening. This event is solely for and about you, and the millions of young entrepreneurs and businesses doing spectacular things in this country.
You have been recognized for your innovation, hard work and your commitment to your visions. But also, your achievements are the ramparts upon which our new and increasingly diversified economy is based.
What Nigeria hopes to be in the next few decades will depend on what these young businesses become. What your businesses become depends on the friendliness of the regulatory environment, capital availability, infrastructure, especially power and today, broadband connectivity.
So, we recognize that our future national prosperity will be consummated by the handshake between the business environment and talents and creativity.
This is why we have been working hard on changing the orientation of our regulators, even as we digitalize their operations. And there has been considerable progress.
Regulators are becoming more attuned to the notion that they are first facilitators, before being the commercial police and standards enforcers. To get more MSMEs to formalize their businesses, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), offered a special 50 per cent discount on business name registration for MSMEs and they have recently extended the initial period of this offer by 90 days.
Very recently, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) stayed action on the planned increase on tariffs of MSME related product registrations, as we strive to ensure that government requirements are in no way, burdensome to our entrepreneurial economy.
On access to low-cost financing for MSMEs, various government agencies and institutions are hard at work; the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Bank of Industry (BOI), NEXIM, the new NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, and others. We are also working with commercial banks to see how we can quickly, achieve single-digit interest rates for loans to MSMEs, with a tenure of between 5 to 10 years, and a repayment moratorium of a minimum of one year in each case.
I am pleased to say that the Bank of Industry (BOI) has signalled its commitment to this project, by setting aside the MSME CLINICS / BOI FUND. This loan will be available to all MSMEs in Nigeria, regardless of whether they participated in the clinics or not. And even as we expect that this new fund will bring some immediate benefit to MSMEs, we are not oblivious of the bigger challenge of rapidly scaling up the number of MSMEs that can access loans without bottlenecks.
One of our MSME-focused priorities is being able to offer affordable world-class equipment for MSMEs across the country. To achieve this, the MSME Clinics will commence a Shared Facilities Scheme in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bank of Industry (BOI), NEXIM Bank, and other private sector partners.
This Shared Facilities Scheme, which saw pilot launches in Oyo and Bauchi States in 2018 and first quarter of 2019 respectively, will provide MSMEs with affordable shared access to essential amenities like guaranteed power supply, broadband, and high-quality operating equipment; thus, helping to reduce their cost of operation. Close to 1.5 million MSMEs will benefit directly from this first phase.
Each of the 36 States and the FCT, will have a minimum of one Shared Facility, which will be located in identified clusters where MSMEs already operate in significant numbers, such as Ogbunike in Anambra State, Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom, Computer Village in Lagos, Wammako in Sokoto, Ukum in Benue, Soba in Kaduna, Egbe Yewa in Ogun, and Arochukwu in Abia, to mention a few. You can find the full list of States and clusters in the Awards event brochure.
Let me again commend the MSME Clinics’ team for their hardwork and for consistently keeping the Clinics at the cutting edge of innovation. While again, I congratulate our awardees, and in particular, the Federal Government’s awardees for excellence for social impact, Tara Durotoye; for entertainment, Alibaba, the BOI outstanding MSME participant female, Norah Onwuasanya; the NEXIM outstanding MSME participant male, Aminu Miko; the Access Bank MSME of the year awardee, Olutayo Ifeoluwa; and the FIRS award for the most supportive MSME State, Anambra State.
I must also thank some of last year’s awardees who are here today. I would like to specially mention Jerry Malo, the CEO of Bennie Agro, and winner of the MSME of the Year Award 2018, at the inaugural edition, last year. Indeed, Jerry has been a worthy ambassador of both the MSME Clinics and the National MSME Awards, using his influence as winner to galvanize small business owners in Plateau State and around the country. Here is a man who has stood out as a true success story, and is showing the way to several other entrepreneurs like himself.
I must also thank the Governor of Plateau State for the support he has made available and also for the special award that he gave to the father of the winner of the award last year.
I thank the Governor of Kaduna State for his keen interest and support for the MSME Clinics and the Governor of Anambra State and also, being represented are the Governors of Abia and Nasarawa States, and also the Governor of Kwara State who is here today.
There is no doubt that working together, the Federal and State Governments can quickly and considerably, improve the business environment in Nigeria.
The economic future of our country is very bright and with the energy and talents of these young men and women, it can only get brighter and better.
Thank you, everyone, for taking the time out to come today and for encouraging young businesses and MSMEs across the country.
God bless you all, thank you!