The Federal Government plays a pivotal role in the promotion of entrepreneurship through various interventions to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and other programmes.
This was disclosed by His Excellency, the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Growth and Employment (GEM) EXPO and Conference for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) held today in Abuja.
Speaking through the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Vice President said Nigeria was able to come out of recession and has moved 39 points up in the World Bank ease of doing business ranking in the last five years,as a result of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government, of which the promotion of MSMEs is a component.
“One of the cardinal focuses of the Plan is to grow the economy and create jobs through the development of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMES). Government developed several programmes along this line to promote the MSMEs, and prominent among them is the MSME clinics and Shared Facilities for production”, he stressed.
According to the Vice President, MSMEs Clinics bring all relevant agencies of government, both Federal and State, together in a one-stop-shop where MSMEs could access all the regulatory agencies under one roof, thereby saving time and resources.
He stated that since inception, the Clinic had achieved huge success, noting that over 400,000 MSME participants and 24 States had hosted it, andabout 300,000 new business names had been registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) at reduced 50% price of N5,000, from the normal N10,000.
Under Shared Facilities for MSMEs, Prof. Osinbajo said that about 37 Clusters had been planned across the nation aimed at providing opportunities for MSMEs to walk into a fully equipped cluster-specific facility to use for end-to-end production of their products.
“The Federal Government has identified a minimum of one cluster per state, and will partner with Regulatory agencies to ensure there are no regulatory issues after production. Three clusters are to be launched soon – Benue Yam Market, Anambra Shoe cluster, and Lagos Fashion cluster”, he said.
For increased access to finance, the Vice President said the Federal Government had an agreement with Bank of Industry where MSMEs could access as much as N3m loan at a single digit rate and long tenure, as well as partnering with commercial banks to ensure increased loans to MSMEs devoid of heavy requirements.
He pledged that government would continue to play a significant role in the promotion and development of entrepreneurship through policy support and interventions.
In an opening address, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, said the GEM project was designed to diversify the Nigerian economy from oil to non-oil, by boosting sectors that have potentials for economic growth.
According to her, “The GEM project is proof of how home-grown MSMEs intervention strategies could compliment government’s policies on employment and wealth creation”.
Ambassador Katagun noted that between 2016 and 2019, the GEM project had registered about 100,000 MSMEs, of which 21,000 were supported by the GEM project, while about 1,700 received grants.
She observed that the Project gave support to such sectors as Information and Communications Technology, Entertainment, Hospitality, Light Manufacturing and Construction, adding that the objective of the project was to increase growth and employment of participating firms.
The GEM project is a World Bank initiative under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, aimed at promoting the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria to create jobs.