At the yearly review of how Federal Government agencies relate with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, sent a clear message to the relevant MDAs. He told them: “Your role is to support the ‘hustle’ of Nigerians engaged in different enterprises by creating a conducive and enabling business environment.
Prof. Osinbajo made this assertion on Monday, 13 December during the MSME Clinics Stakeholders’ review meeting at the Presidential Villa, attended by heads and representatives of agencies including SMEDAN, BOI, NEXIM, BOA, SON, FIRS, NAFDAC and others.
According to him, “everybody knows that Nigerians are enterprising, practically every Nigerian has some kind of business, as they say, some hustle or some other things that they are doing.
“People need the right environment and that is what our role is, to ensure that we understand that it is to facilitate and make it easier, not to become a stumbling block or a tollgate,” the VP stated while reiterating that the agencies’ job is to make things easy for the MSMEs to do their business.
He also made the point about the hardworking nature of the average Nigerian, noting that “this is a country where people want and desire to work,” but added that ‘the constraints are what we have to address. This would be dealt with by human beings and not spirits.”
In addressing the challenges, the VP mentioned that “our creativity and innovation must be first and foremost to remove the obstacles, that is what will solve Nigeria’s problems, implementation of the grand policies that we have and it depends on us.”
The VP spoke about how it has taken some young Nigerians 3 years to get registration numbers for their businesses. He said he was told that in some other close African nations, the same registration takes 6 weeks.
He said for example “if you get food and drugs administration registration anywhere else, you can be in a Nigerian supermarket… and they come and compete with our own people here. This is happening in every respect, even with exports.”
In her remarks, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagun expressed her appreciation to the Vice President for his leadership role, and also praised the stakeholders and State governors for their collaboration and cooperation in holding MSME Clinics.
Present at the meeting were the Managing Director of Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan; Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Dr Ezra Yakusak; Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umaru Radda; Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Mr Abba Bello; Managing Director of Development Bank of Nigeria, Mr Tony Okpanachi; Director-General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mallam Farouk Salim; Managing Director of Bank of Agriculture, Mr Alwan Ali Hassan. Others include the representatives of CAC, FIRS, NAFDAC, NITDA and Access Bank.