The Federal Government on Thursday in Asaba, Delta State restated its commitment to eliminating all the bottlenecks against the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who restated this commitment while declaring open the 25th edition of the national MSME Clinic, described small businesses as engines of economic growth and development.
He reminded all Federal Government business regulatory agencies that they should see themselves as facilitators for the growth of small businesses before becoming commercial police for standard enforcers.
Prof. Osinbajo said the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was working with the relevant agencies to significantly increase access to cheap capital, which he noted, has been a major bane to small business operators.
“We are all trying to work to see how to achieve single digit interest rates for loans to MSMEs with a tenure of between 5 to 10 years and a repayment plan of a minimum of one year in each case.
“Without access to cheap capital, it is impossible to do what we expect MSMEs to do. This is an going concern and we are open to ideas on how to bring down the interest rates.
“Let me remind FG regulatory agencies that we are determined to create a Nigeria where small businesses are nurtured and encouraged to prosper.
“Nigeria is an economy driven largely by MSMEs, and it is clear that there can be no real national growth and development if we do not ensure that small business grow and develop.
“So, We strongly believe that the MSMEs are the engines of growth, and therefore committed to remove all the obstacles standing in the way of MSMEs to give them all the support,” he said.
According to him, some of the gains of the national MSME clinic are the launching of one stop shop in some states, as well as the launching of shared facilities across the country.
He called on state governments to partner the Federal Government in deepening the fruits of the one stop shops and the shared facilities by encouraging that they are established within various sections of states.
“We have also began launching shared facilities across the nation, and the purpose is to provide reasonably priced assets to world class business equipment for MSME in cluster phases.
“What this means is that MSMEs has cleared the financial burden of having to buy the equipment in order to do business. The shared facilities have been pre-certified by relevant agencies, removing the need for the MSMEs to pursue the certification.
“So by taking away the burden of acquiring, managing the equipment, the clinic intends to further catalyst the growth of MSMEs,” Osinbajo explained.
Host governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa in his welcome address, decried the decay of about 37 million MSMEs as a result of infrastructure decay, lack of access to finance and other challenges mitigating against the growth of small businesses.