The Federal Government has said it is committed to the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as is the engine of growth.
According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who stated this while declaring open the 32nd Lagos International Trade Fair on Friday, no nation has ever developed without SMEs playing leading role.
Osinbajo disclosed that the Federal Government has disbursed loans running to billions to 1.8 million traders while 2 million traders are expected to key in to the facility.
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He pledged the administration’s readiness to assist the SMEs grow, adding that the government is working out ways to better the lives of Nigerians by providing them with single digit loans.
“We are committed as government to create enabling environment for all business to thrive. We will continue to create windows for the SMEs to succeed,” he added. On power supply, Osinbajo, who represented, the President Muhammed Buhari at the event, said government has built Solar energy at six markets across the country to supply power to SMEs.
As part of the way to assist the SMEs in the country, he said government has established Internet Services through a foreign company that has promised to work with the government to provide affordable internet service to Nigerians and mostly to the SMEs.
Also, speaking at the event, the President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase, said that this year trade fair’s theme, “Connecting Business, Creating Value”, was chosen to underscore the importance of relationships and interactions among businesses for the purpose of wealth creation.
Ruwase stated that the chamber is committed to the vision of the present administration in respect of economic diversification and self- reliance.
“Our programmes, advocacy activities and capacity development are geared towards the realization of these economic aspirations. We recognize the imperative of non-oil sector development and the need to add value to our primary products in order to improve earnings for both the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy,” he explained.
He stated that this year trade fair would provides a platform to identify non-oil alternatives and highlight the significance of value addition. As a policy advocacy, he said the chamber would continued to offer advice, inputs and partnership on strategies and measures to facilitate the realization of the economic development programmes of government.
He called on the government to create more enable environment for businesses to thrive because many businesses are suffering.
As a nation, he said ,” we need to do a lot more to attract more private capital into the Nigerian economy. In this regard, our economic and investment policies must be right, and our institutions must be investment friendly.
These conditions are important for both domestic and foreign investment.”