The Nigerian government says it may further reduce the cost of registering businesses in the country to drive the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo gave the indication at the Kebbi State Edition of the Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises, MSMEs Clinic held at the Convocation Arena of the Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi.
Osinbajo said that feedback from entrepreneurs showed that the cost of registering businesses and getting approval for their products was high, requiring the intervention of government to reduce them.
He said government regulatory agencies should encourage the establishment of businesses and their growth instead of constituting obstacles to them.
“Many people complain that the cost of registering one 5product was too expensive; so many people complained.
“But I must point out that it used to be N50,000.00 per product; NAFDAC reduced it to N25,000.00, but that N25,000.00 is still too high.
“That’s the feedback I have got today from talking to so many people.
“Our own business as regulators, as government, is to make easy for people to do business.
“That’s what we are supposed to do. If it is too expensive to register the product, then we are not encouraging people to register.
“So, we are going to see to it that we give these products the kind of price that some businesses can afford and that does not discourage small business.
“We are not to be obstacles; we are facilitators. We are to make business easier.
“We are not just revenue-collecting agencies; the best way to facilitate revenue in a country is by providing people with opportunity to work, opportunity to do business,” he emphasised.
The Vice President said government was going to work on this to ensure that small businesses were encouraged to register their products with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON.
He also said the cost of registering businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has been reduced by 50% to encourage many people to register their businesses.
Speaking further on the plans to leverage MSMEs, Osinbajo said that government was working on long-term plans to tackle the challenges faced by small business by establishing shared-facility clusters in various parts of the Nigeria.
“Some of the Next Level Projects that we intend to do are what we call shared facilities for MSMEs.
“We plan to have 37 clusters across the nation, which will provide MSMEs with opportunities to walk into fully equipped clusters where they have specific facilities for end-to-end production of their products,” the Vice President explained.
He said that two of the clusters have already been established, explaining that one cluster would be established in Kebbi State next year for the use of over 9,000 MSMEs engaged in fish business.
400,000 MSMEs participate
According to Professor Osinbajo, over 400,000 MSMEs have participated in the clinics in the past four years in 23 states of Nigeria adding that the Kebbi edition of the MSMEs Clinic was the 24th.
He listed the states that have hosted the clinic so far to include Bauchi, Plateau, Kwara, Sokoto, Cross River, Ebonyi, Ogun, Ondo, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory.
Others were Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Oyo, Ekiti, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Osun, Katsina, Kogi and Akwa Ibom.
According to him, regulatory agencies were taken to these states to see what small businesses were doing and to determine how to support them.
“One of the things that emerges from going around seeing what has been done here in Kebbi State and all over the country is evidence that there is so much talent; so much creativity and so much enterprise.
“People are prepared to work hard, young and old, people are making their contributions to the economy of this country.
“That is what makes a country truly economically great; it is the individual work of small business that makes any country in the world what it is,” Prof. Osinbajo added.
Professor Osinbajo said government has also launched seven one-stop shops in the FCT, Osun, Cross River, Abia, Plateau and Bauchi states.
“What we do in these one-stop shops is that we assemble relevant agencies together in one place so as to enable MSMEs access their services on an ongoing basis with relative ease.
“In each one-stop shop we have NAFDAC there, we have SON there, we have the CAC there. All under one roof,” he stated.
He said this makes easy for companies to register their businesses and products in their states without the difficulty of traveling to Abuja or Lagos to do.
According to him about 300,000 companies have so far been registered at the CAC at 50% reduced cost , which is now about N5,000.00.
The Governor of Kebbi State, Abubukar Atiku Bagudu, said that the support MSMEs were receiving through the clinic would boost economic activities in the state.
Bagudu noted that the entrepreneurs in the state were getting ready to participate in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement with the support coming from the clinic.
The Vice President also took the TraderMoni and MarketMoni Schemes of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Scheme to the Birnin Kebbi Central Market.