30th Edition Of The National MSMEs Clinics In Maduguri, Borno State On 24/02/2022
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE 30TH EDITION OF THE NATIONAL MSMEs CLINICS IN MAIDUGURI, BORNO STATE ON THE 24TH OF FEBRUARY, 2022
It is a special pleasure for me to be here in this historic city of Maiduguri in the great State of Borno. I must also appreciate the warm reception of the people of Maiduguri today and the generous hospitality of my friend and brother His Excellency, Governor Babagana Umara Zulum since we arrived this morning.
I bring you the warm felicitations and personal greetings of our President, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose love and appreciation of the people of Borno State is well known to all. He has been here twice in the past few months. And on behalf of the President and the Federal Government, we once again salute His Excellency, Governor Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum and his hardworking team for their dedication and commitment to working with the military and the Federal government to restore peace and normalcy to Borno State.
Your bold and courageous actions have been instrumental in restoring confidence to residents and visitors and have enabled business and social activities to resume and flourish in the State. Borno State has been a famous centre of learning, agriculture and commerce from time immemorial. We must all ensure that we restore it fully to that enviable status.
As is well known, MSME Clinics serve as a bridge between the Federal Government, State Government and small businesses in each State. It does this by bringing all relevant regulatory agencies whose work impacts the business experience of small businesses together in one place to consult and solve problems over a one to two-day period. The idea is similar to providing an opportunity for patients to consult doctors in a mobile clinic.
We realise of course that all the needs and queries of MSMEs cannot be met in a one-day period which is why we also encourage State Governments to establish MSMEs One-Stop-Shops. These are office facilities provided by State Governments to house all our MSME partner agencies so that clients/Small businesses can access their services more readily and cheaply and on a continuous basis.
Shared Facilities for MSMEs are yet another innovation of the MSME Clinics. These facilities are provided to MSME clusters by the Federal Government, and FG pays for the cost of such facilities and involves the installation of specialised machinery that can be used or rented for short periods by business owners. Such facilities help to relieve the financial burden of having to purchase their own equipment while giving them access to the latest equipment. For example, you have in Nnewi, Anambra State, a facility for shoemakers and in Edo State, another shared facility for furniture makers.
The whole idea is for small businesses to be able to go to a place where we have high-quality and expensive equipment that individual businesses couldn’t have been able to afford on their own. They go to the facilities and use it on a rental basis and do whatever businesses they want to do there.
It is therefore a matter of great joy for me to announce today to the hardworking Governor, Prof Zulum and the entire people of Borno State that the FG government working with our private sector partners will put up a world-class Shared Facility for MSMEs here in Maiduguri. Furthermore, Mr President has directed that such a facility which must reflect the choices of the people of the State must be commissioned within the next 4 months.
With these marching orders, the relevant Federal and State Government agencies and the relevant private sector partners will get to work and quickly identify a viable cluster for the benefit of MSMEs in the state.
In addition to its other interventions, especially in providing infrastructure and improving the business environment, FG is committed to supporting MSMEs because we know that the can-do spirit of Nigerians when given necessary impetus is a driving force for innovation and creativity which are known catalysts for rapid economic progress.
In response to the severe economic problems caused largely by the fall-outs of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President initiated the Economic Sustainability Plan.
A key part of the Plan was the MSME Survival Fund which consisted of several palliatives. Through the Payroll Support Programme (one of the components of the Survival Fund), we were able to help businesses across various sectors to keep their employees by paying their salaries for three months. Similarly, artisans and transporters got support to help them overcome the negative impact of the lockdowns and restrictions of movements that affected their livelihoods. The Survival Fund programme was steered by Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment who is here with us today.
It is pleasing to note that MSMEs in Borno State benefitted fully from all tracks of the Survival Fund Scheme. The data shows that so far, close to 30,000 MSMEs benefited across all its tracks with the total amount of N1.5billion helping both business owners and employees alike.
To participants at this clinic let me repeat as I had said to some of you that I have met, this clinic is for you. An MSME clinic is like a hospital for small businesses to make your complaints to the secretariat team or the regulatory authorities, and I am sure all the issues will be satisfactorily addressed. Since you have the regulatory authorities with you, you can make suggestions and observations to them, they are at your service here.
Before I conclude, let me say to you, Governor Zulum, that the entire country has observed with admiration the dedication, commitment, compassion and integrity that you have approached your duties as a Governor of this State, at a time of such immense security, and economic challenges. In the midst of the crisis, you have built several, close to 10,000 housing units, the first flyover in Borno State, and several mega schools. You have shown and demonstrated what can be achieved with clarity of vision and even with small resources when a leader has love for the people he serves. Well done and keep it up!
God bless Borno State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.