By Miriam Humbe
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s continued commitment to provide conducive environment for operators in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The Minister made this known at the virtual commissioning of the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)”Eko Fashion Hub” in Lagos on Tuesday.
Amb. Katagum said: “This event is a testimony to the continued commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide a conducive environment for operators in the MSME space. The establishment of Shared Common Facilities, is one of the key take aways from the organisation of MSME Clinics across the country. It is also imperative to state that the provision of Shared Facilities in support of MSMEs, is being complemented by activities in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. It has been established, and rightly so, that Shared Facilities have been found to be effective tools to minimize the infrastructural challenges that have inhibited MSMEs overtime”.
The Minister maintained that the Federal Government was fully committed to empowering Nigerians, particularly in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
She reiterated that President Buhari’s administration through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of Covid-19 on MSME businesses, saying that , “These programmes include among others, the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Schemes of which I have the honour to Chair the Steering Committee for the effective implementation of the projects”.
She explained that both schemes are at the core of the N2.3 trillion stimulus package also known as the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP being implemented by the Buhari Administration to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to boosting the economy by saving existing jobs and creating new job opportunities.
The Minister stated that “The project, which will run for an initial period of three months, is targeting 1.7million entities and individuals and has provisions for 45% female-owned businesses and 5% for those with special needs. The Registration portal for the schemes is set to open on Monday 21st September, 2020 and I urge you all to take full advantage of the schemes”.
She said these initiatives were coming at a time when support is critically needed for the MSME businesses, most of which have greatly been negatively impacted due to the economic downturn arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic, stressing that, the commissioning of Shared Facilities, such as this, was also expected to provide succour and relief for the teeming micro businesses in need of space and infrastructural support.
Amb. Katagum expressed appreciation to the Vice-President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for providing a pragmatic and purposeful leadership in establishing a conducive environment that would seamlessly allow MSMEs to grow and prosper in the country.
She congratulated MSMEs across the country and urged the ones in Lagos State to take full advantage of the shared facility as well as the MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Schemes to improve their businesses, noting that, ”It is my belief that this initiative has come at the right time for MSMEs in Lagos State in particular, and Nigeria in general”.