…Okowa decries decay of 37 million MSMEs.
The Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, yesterday said the Federal Government was working with relevant agencies to significantly increase access to cheap capital for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs.
Osinbajo who stated this while declaring open the 25th edition of the national MSME Clinic, in Asaba, the Delta State capital, said small scale businesses were the engines of economic growth and development.
Insisting that lack of access to cheap capital was the major bane of small business operators, he restated the commitment of the Federal Government to eliminate all the bottlenecks against the growth of small businesses across the country.
He told all Federal Government business regulatory agencies to see themselves as facilitators for the growth of small businesses before becoming commercial police for standard enforcers.
Osibanjo said: “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 Federal Government 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”, saying some of the gains of the national MSME clinic were the launching of one stop shop in some states, as well as the launching of shared facilities across the country.
To this end, he urged state governments to partner with the Federal Government to deepen the fruits of the one stop shops and the shared facilities by ensuring that they are established within various sections of states.
He said: “We have also began launching shared facilities across the nation, and the purpose is to provide reasonably priced assets to world class business equipments 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.
In his remarks, the host Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa decried the decay of about 37 million MSMEs as a result of infrastructural decay, lack of access to finance and other challenges mitigating against the growth of small businesses.