5th National MSMEs Awards Ceremony And Dinner Night
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE 5TH NATIONAL MSME AWARDS AT THE OLD BANQUET HALL, STATE HOUSE ON MONDAY, 27TH OF JUNE 2022
I bring you warm greetings from President Muhammadu Buhari, who is, as you know, particularly proud of the impact and contributions of MSMEs to the economy. I am particularly delighted to have another opportunity to see some of our young and innovative entrepreneurs here in this hall today.
Since its inauguration in 2018, the National MSME Awards has grown in leaps and bounds. It has become a prominent feature in the annual event calendar of the MSME community in Nigeria, attracting thousands of prospective business owners, established entrepreneurs, regulators and financiers.
The award applications have jumped from the 500 applications in 2018 to over 17,000 entries this year. Clearly, the interest shown in the awards by Nigerian entrepreneurs has been tremendous.
In the past years, winners in the different categories have gone home with various prizes that have impacted their businesses and profiles – cash prizes, cars, and of course local and international media attention. The reward for the awards has also increased from an initial humble beginning of a 1-star prize which was a car in 2018 for the MSME of the Year winner to 10 cars in all categories this year. This is to underscore the significant improvement that has been established between the private sector and the Federal Government over the years.
The awards have also inspired many young entrepreneurs to greatness and some of the stories are simply incredible. Let me seize this opportunity to mention and congratulate again this year’s winners and they are:
- Peaklori Production Limited from Delta State, winner of the Award for Excellence in Agriculture;
- Nature’s Organic Secret from Niger State, which won the NAFDAC/ SMEDAN Award of Excellence in Beauty and Cosmetics;
- Abeni Prints from Oyo State, winner of the NEPC Award for Excellence in Creative Arts;
- Famkapparel from Lagos State, who is taking home the FIRS Award for Excellence in Fashion and Style;
- Tanko Furniture from Sokoto State, winner of the Award for ITF Excellence in Furniture and Woodwork;
- JMOFS Enterprises from Plateau State, who won the RMRDC/DBN Award in Leather Works;
- Negs Empire from Imo State, winner of the NEXIM Bank MSME Clinic Participant of the Year Award.
These MSMEs tell the story of our country’s great economic future. We are set to manufacture our own vehicles, clean energy trucks and cars, and we are on course to manufacturing our own weapons, armoured mobile platforms and aircraft. We have everything that it takes.
But I believe that MSME in technology and manufacturing especially in the clean energy or green economy deserve special mention. I am convinced that this sector will be crucial in global industrial development in the coming years and will leapfrog Nigeria to economic prosperity.
This evening we have seen outstanding innovators from the sector. Let me mention three that seem to me that will define the future in terms of clean energy automobiles and precision engineering.
The first is Thinkbikes Limited, the winner of the BOI Award for Excellence in manufacturing founded by Tolulope Olukokun, which produces solar and battery-run bikes that can go up to 50 kilometres on a single charge.
The second is Phoenix Renewables Ltd, the winner of the NITDA Award in Innovation, founded by Mustapha Abubakar Gajibo. The company designs and builds electric and solar-powered cars, tricycles and also vehicle and engine parts. The vehicles are now deployed for public transportation in the Maiduguri metropolis. By April they had conveyed over 21,000 passengers. I had the singular pleasure of driving one of the electric cars when I visited the Phoenix Renewables stand at the Borno MSME Clinic.
The third is the Clintonel Advanced Engineering Centre, Access Bank MSME of the Year Award winner, founded by Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke. The company builds high-precision parts, moulds, medical equipment and auto engine parts. This is the building block for a true industrial revolution in Nigeria. Many of these companies have demonstrated to us that we have all it takes for a major industrial revolution, especially in the clean energy space.
I must also congratulate also to the Governors of Edo, Imo, Ogun and Borno States, who picked up outstanding awards in various categories in the MSME space. It is our sincere hope that this will motivate others to achieve even greater exploits in our quest to create better business policies, products and environment for MSMEs to thrive.
We have decided to make the MSMEs Awards an annual celebration of excellence and innovation in the sector an enduring national event. The idea is to draw more attention to the challenges and prospects in the MSME sector while we continue to reward the high achievers who serve as our models.
As you may be aware, all the finalists typically get, as part of the prize package, two weeks of media attention to showcase and market their products.
I am glad to note that a lot of effort went into ensuring that this year’s awards, which is the 5th edition, have recorded much improvement on past productions. For the great successes the MSME Clinics have recorded especially in the past three years, I think we must commend and congratulate the Hon. Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Maryam Katagum and her team. And of course Mr. MSMEs himself, Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs.
Our government believes that the role of government is to make it easier for businesses to run efficiently. This is why we set up five MSME production facilities under the Shared Facility Initiative.
In Benue State, we established a 200,000-ton capacity yam storage facility for smallholder farmers in the Zaki Biam Yam Market, while in Lagos State, a modern fashion hub has been set up in Ikeja.
The facility for Anambra State, a state-of-the-art leather works facility at Ogbunike leather cluster has been completed and was commissioned in 2021. The Imo State fashion cluster was commissioned also in 2021 and the Edo State furniture cluster was commissioned in December 2021. Other Shared Facility projects that will be commissioned soon include the Kaduna State Tomato Paste Production Hub and the Ogun State refurbished Adire market.
Other facilities are now being established in Gombe, Bauchi, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Delta, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Abia and Kano States.
Permit me to also thank all 30 Governors who have hosted MSME Clinics in their States thus far, who supported the building of One-Stop-Shops for MSMEs, and also provided suitable buildings for the Shared Facilities for MSMEs.
I must also thank all our Partner Ministries, Departments and Agencies for your immense support, and Access Bank Plc especially, which has always been a dependable partner for all our MSME programmes. We must all commend the team responsible for putting together this amazing 5th edition of the National MSME awards ceremony.
Before I conclude let me digress briefly to recognize a person who may be rightly described as the originator of the idea of the MSME Clinics. He is Ambassador Adeyemi Dipeolu, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters.
Ambassador Adeyemi came to me in 2018 with Mr. Tola Johnson and proposed the idea of a clinic, almost like a mobile medical clinic for MSMEs, where we would take all the regulators and Development Finance Banks from State to State, showing what the MSMEs in the States were doing and providing them with the opportunity to meet with regulators and banks to resolve problems and issues they may have. Thanks and Congratulations!
In closing, I thank everyone who has participated so actively in all of the efforts so far. I salute the innovation and resilience of young Nigerians. Your relentless drive, energy and creativity is the guarantee that our nation will prosper and provide jobs and opportunities for the millions of young Nigerians coming into the job market yearly.
We are immensely proud of you, and to everyone here, today, thank you for coming.
Thank you also for listening and God bless you all.