Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, sent a clear message to the relevant MDAs during the annual review of how Federal Government agencies interact with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country. “Your role is to support Nigerians engaged in various enterprises by creating a conducive and enabling business environment,” he told them.
Prof. Osinbajo made this statement at the Presidential Villa on Monday, December 13 during the MSME Clinics Stakeholders’ Review Meeting, which was attended by heads and representatives from SMEDAN, BOI, NEXIM, BOA, SON, FIRS, NAFDAC, and other agencies.
“Everyone knows that Nigerians are enterprising,” he says, adding that “practically every Nigerian has some kind of business, some hustle, or some other things that they are doing.”
“People require the right environment, and that is what our role is to ensure that we understand that our role is to facilitate and make it easier, not to become a stumbling block or a tollgate,” the VP said, reiterating that the agencies’ job is to make things easier for MSMEs to do business.
He also mentioned the average Nigerian’s hardworking nature, saying, “This is a country where people want and desire to work,” but added, “The constraints are what we have to address.” This would be handled by humans rather than spirits.”
“Our creativity and innovation must be first and foremost to remove the obstacles,” the VP said of the challenges. “That is what will solve Nigeria’s problems, implementation of the grand policies that we have, and it depends on us.”
The VP mentioned how it took some young Nigerians three years to get their business registration numbers. He claims he was told that the same registration takes six weeks in other African countries.
“If you get a food and drug administration registration somewhere else, you can be in a Nigerian supermarket… and they come and compete with our own people here,” he explained. This is true in every way, including with exports.”
In her remarks, Amb. Mariam Katagun, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, thanked the Vice President for his leadership and praised the stakeholders and state governors for their collaboration and cooperation in holding MSME Clinics.
Mr Olukayode Pitan, Managing Director of Bank of Industry; Dr Ezra Yakusak, Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council; Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, Director-General of SMEDAN; Mr Abba Bello, Managing Director of NEXIM Bank; Mr Tony Okpanachi, Managing Director of Development Bank of Nigeria; Mallam Farouk Salim, Director-General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria; and Mr Alwan Ali Hassan, Representatives from CAC, FIRS, NAFDAC, NITDA, and Access Bank are among the others.