By Miriam Humbe
A shared facility for the production of Shea Butter and Garments, to assist Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), has been inaugurated by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Speaking at the occasion, Prof. Osinbajo said the facility, which is a joint initiative of the Federal and Oyo State Governments is to be replicated across the Nation to reflect products that are common to each area.
According to him, the project is part of the Federal Government’s initiative at driving the economy through focussed empowerment of MSMEs nationwide in order to achieve sustained contribution to the gross domestic product and expand gainful employment opportunities.
Professor Osinbajo said the Federal Government in recognition of this fact set up various initiatives including “Trader Moni” and “Market Moni” to assist owners of micro and small scale businesses to boost their respective trades.
He said the shared facilities scheme was a fall out of the National MSME Clinics, which was introduced to help improve engagements between government and MSMEs across the country.
The Vice President said shea butter producers as well as fashion and style operators will have access at affordable cost, to the machinery provided at the centre which they may not be able to afford individually, thereby promoting their respective businesses and indirectly contributing to national economic growth.
He commended the Oyo State Government for supporting the Federal Government on projects aimed at reducing poverty and promoting the living standards of Nigerians.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr. Olukayode Pitan said the public-private partnership (PPP) model has been adopted to guarantee the success and sustainability of the shared facilities, stressing that the Bank was committed to supporting the initiative and similar ones that would enhance the continuous growth of MSMEs in Nigeria.
Also commenting on the project, Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma said production, packaging and sales of shea butter as well as garments must meet the requirements of relevant standards in order to be competitive locally and across the borders.
SON, according to him, is ready to collaborate with all producers and dealers on Shea nuts/Kernel and Shea Butter to ensure that Nigeria benefits from the economic potentials of this wonderful product through the value chain.
The SON internationally accredited laboratories he said, are available to provide requisite support for the certification of the products for local consumption and export.
Aboloma said the SON Textile and Leather Laboratory is also well positioned to provide the required technical support to enhance the competitiveness of Nigerian made garments for locally an internationally.