From Uche Usim, Abuja
Hope of strengthening the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by ensuring that soft loans at single digit interest rate have been extended to at least 10 million of them captured under a small-scale empowerment scheme.
President Buhari also said the Federal Government is keen to help MSMEs achieve their full potential and has developed strategic policy interventions, enshrined laws and established institutions to create a supportive business environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs.
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the 17th Abuja International Trade Fair.
Represented at the event by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, President Buhari said to achieve that plan, the trade and investment ministry has developed a programme that will enhance access to credit for over 10 million MSMEs at single digit rate.
“Aside from provision of finance, this project will address key ecosystem issues such as development of MSME clusters to lower operating costs as well as capacity building initiatives,” the President said.
He disclosed that the ministry has also commenced the process of adopting a centralised automated platform for the registration of Trademarks, Patents and Designs. The overall objective is to fully digitalise existing records and automate the registration process to enable ownership and commercialisation of innovation.
The FG has also approved fiscal incentives for MSMEs which includes exemption from Company Income Tax and Value Added Tax for enterprises with annual turnover of less than 25 million naira. The Pioneer Status Incentive also grants tax holidays for start-ups across multiple sectors.
The President urged for focus on how MSMEs can be energised as vehicles for economic growth.
Also, president of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, challenged small scale businesses to embrace technology to advance their business operations.
He told them that digitalisation offers a range of oppourtunities for SMEs to improve performance, spur innovation and compete on a more even footing with larger firms, reflecting: economies of scale; lower operation and transaction costs; and reduced information asymmetries.