He was handed over the mantle of the number one citizen of the country in the early hour of today after President Muhammadu Buhari proceeded on a 10 day working holiday in the UK. The now acting president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government is working towards giving Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME) a credit office of N2 million to N10 million without collateral.
Osibanjo made the known to newsmen on Wednesday at a dinner/ maiden edition of the MSMEs Award 2018 held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
The honours packaged by the Office of the Vice-President and supported by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, recieved more than 300 nominations the country over.
Osinbajo had in 2017 launched the MSME Clinic as part of efforts to encourage the contributions of MSMEs to Nigeria’s economic growth.
The acting president said he was delighted to reward and recognise outstanding MSME as they represent remarkable examples of Nigerian entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
According to him, efforts are underway to double government’s commitment to ensuring that MSME find an enabling environment to thrive.
He said that in addition to the one-stop-shop launched in some states to carry the MSME clinics intervention, the Federal Government would soon launch its shared facilities for MSMEs initiative.
Osinbajo said the initiative would be in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
“This initiatives will provide MSME access to fully equipped cluster style facilities for which they can pay an affordable fee to operate.
“These facilities would have been pre-certified by relevant agencies like NAFDAC, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and NEPC thereby removing the layers of bureaucracy that in the past held back many aspiring entrepreneurs.
“In the shared facilities, you already have the requisite licences that regulate your operation. So, using the facilities means that you will not go through all the regulatory bureaucracies.
“We will also partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks to launch a credit facility that will make available to MSME loans from N2m to N10m with a period of five to seven years with little or no collateral.
“The interest rate will be five percent. All that you need is to provide the committee with a bankable business proposal and guarantor,’’ he said.
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was also exploring an initiative by CAC to allow a special window of 90 days for MSME which had not registered their businesses to do so at a highly subisidised price.
He said he was aware of complaints from some states and warned that he would not tolerate the shirking of responsibilities from agencies on the one-stop- shop for MSME.
Earlier in her remark, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, commended Osinbajo over the MSME clinics initiative and awards.
She said that efforts were being made to give the MSMEs expert advice on legal, accounting among other areas to strengthen their businesses.
The awards were in 12 categories–NEXIM Bank Excellence Award in Agriculture, won by Promaka Farms, Imo State; NAFDAC/SON Excellence Award in Beauty and Wellnesss won by Yelwa Shea Butter, Sokoto; DBN/ITF Award on Fashion and Style won by Hanbows, Oyo State.
Others are CBN Young MSME Award won by Chrisblo Glimmer Touch, Cross River and MSME of the Year Award won by Bennie Agro Machineries, Plateau State; NEPC Award in Creative Arts, CAC Award on Furniture and Wood Works, SMEDAN Awards on Leather works, BOI Award on Manufacturing.
Also featured was NITDA Award on Technology Innovation, FIRS Award on Non-Profit Service to Humanity and Most Friendly MSME State won by Abia.
The event attracted the Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, Deputy Governor of Abia, Mr Ude Oko Chukwu and the Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu.