Nigeria is set to launch a shared facilities initiative to leverage the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, in the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this at the Maiden Edition of the National MSME Awards held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“This initiative will provide MSMEs with access to fully equipped cluster-style facilities for which they can pay an affordable fee to operate out of,” Professor Osinbajo said.
He said the shared facilities would be certified by the regulatory agencies like the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Standards Organization of Nigeria, SON, and the Nigerian Export Processing Council thereby removing the layers of bureaucracy that held back aspiring entrepreneurs in the past.
Osinbajo said: “in the shared facilities, you will already have the necessary licenses that you need from the regulatory authorities. So, using those facilities alone means that you will not have to go through all of the regulatory laws and bureaucracy. They would have already been done for you. So, anyone who uses the facilities will have the extra advantage.”
He said the shared facility initiative would be launched in partnership with the Bank of Industry, BOI; the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS; the NEXIM Bank, and the Nigeria Export Processing Council.
Vice President Osinbajo also said that government would also partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and commercial banks to launch a credit facility “to make available to MSMEs loans from N2million to N10million with a period of five to seven years and little or no collateral.”
He said the interest rate would be five percent.
Osinbajo said all that the MSMES would need to be part of the shared facilities “is to provide the committee with a bankable business proposal and guarantors.”
The vice president also said that government was exploring an initiative to allow a special window of 90 days for MSMEs who have not registered their businesses to do so at “a highly subsidize price.”
He said the special window is an initiative of the Corporate Affairs Commission.
While acknowledging the role of all government agencies in establishing the one-stop shops in states, the vice president expressed displeasure over complaints by MSMEs and state governments that some of the agencies were not living up to expectation.
He said: “We must make it clear that as a government we made serious commitment; that they are run efficiently and that they are intended to fulfil all of the commitments that we have made to the letter. And so it is important that all of the agencies to understand to understand that we will not tolerate the shirking of their responsibilities in any way; whether by absenteeism or putting in less than their expected efforts.”
He directed that his staff to provide updates from the one-stop shops launched so far to make sure that they are doing what they were set up for.
Osinbajo congratulated the MSMEs that won awards and prizes, saying they represented some of the remarkable examples of Nigerians entrepreneurship, creativity and innovations.
In her remarks, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, said the award was organised to showcase the creativity of young Nigerians.