Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to promoting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by providing the necessary financial assistance.
Osinbajo made the commitment during the opening session of a two-day conference on National MSMEs Clinic in Onitsha, Anambra.
The vice president, who was represented by his Special Assistant on SMEs, Mr Tola Johnson, said that the Federal Government had held discussions 364,000 MSMEs across the nation.
According to him, more than 21,000 MSMEs outlined their challenges, adding that 7,300 of them had so far been resolved.
He said the National MSMEs Clinic initiative was an opportunity for government agencies to solve the problems of entrepreneurs.
“Government has realised that what every MSME needs is cheap money to support their businesses as not many can survive the 26 per cent bank interest rate.
“We may not solve the entire problems at once but we are genuine in solving these problems.”
He urged entrepreneurs in Anambra to take advantage of the N59 billion earmarked in 2018 by the Development Bank of Nigeria for disbursement to MSMEs at a single digit.
The vice president also said that the Federal Government had approved a national SME award for individuals who had distinguished themselves in the MSMEs sector.
“Nominate yourself for the award when it is rolled out,” Osinbajo said.
In his remarks, Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra represented by his Deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke, said the greatest challenge the nation had was how to provide employment for the people.
Obiano stressed that it was not the responsibility of government to provide jobs but to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He lauded the Federal Government’s initiative, noting that the clinic would create opportunities for business people to learn more on how to do their businesses and how to have access to cheap funds.
“We need these small businesses to thrive because they are the ones that create the largest amount of jobs and employment opportunities for our people.”
He said his government had done a lot to promote businesses in the state through the establishment of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA).
The governor said his government had provided security and other incentives to make the state conducive for investment.
Earlier, Mr Clement Chukwuka, the Managing Director, Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA), said the business clinic was organised by the Office of the Vice President in conjunction with the state government.
“The objective of the clinic is to provide a platform and create unique opportunities for the major players in MSMEs to have the privilege of presenting their challenges and success stories.
“Eleven critical federal agencies responsible for shaping the destinies of MSMEs sector were assembled for the clinic.”
Chukwuka expressed the hope that the clinic would enhance the repositioning of MSMEs in the state toward the part of sustaining economic growth, employment, wealth creation, food security and poverty reduction.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the agencies present at the clinic were Development Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry, NEXIM, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), NAFDAC and SON.
NAN further reports that the vice president will on April 12 lead Obiano and some Federal Government stakeholders on an interactive session with entrepreneurs in the state.