Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says government's support for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, is not only to empower them but also to create a whole economy around small businesses.
Professor Osinbajo stated this on Saturday at the launch of the MSMEs Clinic at the Justice Legbo Kutigi Conference Centre, Minna, Niger State.
It is important for us because we believe that the way to make every Nigerian prosperous, not just to eat three square meals, but to send your children to school, to build houses, to be able to have the things every Nigerian is entitled is to encourage Nigerians by giving them facilities to grow their businesses, to grow their own finances and become prosperous, the vice president said.
He said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration initiated the MSMEs Clinic as a response to the fact that MSMEs are the most important business component of the economy.
He said: In any economy, what small businesses contribute is really the super structure of the economy.
And that is why the president decided that we must have these clinics in every state of the federation.
So, for the past two years we have been going round state by state, flagging off MSMEs Clinics and one stop shops.
What we do at the MSME Clinics is that we bring, from the federal government, all of the regulatory agencies.
So, here today, we have the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, Bank of Industry, BOI, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS and all of the regulatory agencies to come under one roof.
The idea is that they are able to assist MSMEs and answer the questions that they may have.
So, we actually bring the regulatory authorities to the state or to any state we go so as to facilitate the work of MSMEs.
And the reason why that is important is because most small businesses find it extremely difficult to travel all the way to Abuja and in some cases to Lagos just to get regulatory authority of permission.
That is the reason why we believe that it is the best to bring those regulatory authorities to them.
Professor Osinbajo said government also went a step further by establishing a one-stop shop for the regulatory authorities.
According to him, the one-stop shop, which is set up in collaboration with state governments, has all the regulatory agencies under one roof to assist small businesses.
So, small businesses, without having to travel all the way to travel to Abuja, to Lagos or elsewhere, can simply do a lot of their regulatory transactions under one roof, Osinbajo stated.
The vice president said government has also begun to set up shared facilities for small businesses in the states of the federation.
He said the shared facilities would provide not just space and machinery to MSMEs but also ensure uninterrupted power supply to drive the growth of small businesses.
He said the first of the shared facilities has been established in Ibadan Oyo State and expressed hope that a similar facility would be set up in Niger State.
Small Business Credit
Professor Osinbajo said the support for small businesses has also led to the designing the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme, GEEP, which is part of the Social Investment Programme of the Buhari administration.
Under the GEEP programme, we have two types of loan; one is called TraderMoni and the other is called the MarktMoni.
MarketMoni is for slightly higher level small businesses. So, we can give say between 100,000 and 350,000.
And we usually give that to corporative or to persons who are members of the corporative. We have given many loans like that to so many businesses, even some here in Niger State.
But tradermoni is the one to petty traders. We give a small loan of N10,000.00 to petty traders.
A petty trader is a very small trader. Somebody who is just selling groundnut, whose inventory may not be up to N5,000.00.
But when we give you that N10,000.00, and it is done in an electronic platform, and you back in six months period, you're immediately entitled to N15,000.
When you pay that, you are immediately entitled to N20,000.00. It goes on like that until you are eligible for up to N100,000.00.
The most important thing about this that we recognize that small businesses may not have the collateral, and banks may not give small businesses laons because they are not sure that they will pay back.
What we have done is that by the MarketMoni and TraderMoni schemes, we are showing that governments by providing the funds through the banks and supporting the BOI, we can rely on traders to pay back.
Vice President Osinbajo also spoke on the graduate employment component of the Social Investment Programme, the N-Power, which, according to him, has engaged 500,000 graduates in different areas.
Professor Osinbajo also took the MarketMoni and TraderMoni schemes to the Kasuwa Gwari and Kure Markets in Minna, where he was cheered by crowds as walked through the markets.
Earlier, Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State said that steps taken by the Buhari administration to facilitate the growth of MSMEs.
Source: Voice of Nigeria