The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has stated that providing support to Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises is the economic direction of the present administration. He therefore affirmed that the Federal Government will continue to support MSMEs in order to raise hope, create jobs and opportunities that will produce growth and development in the country.
The Vice President stated this yesterday at Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, where he was Special Guest of Honour at the University’s 33rd Inaugural Lecture, titled “From the Small Business to Big Business: A Future with Little Hope,”’ delivered by Prof. Oluseyi Oduyoye.
Earlier in the lecture, Prof. Oduyoye, a professor of Business Administration who attended Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, at the same time with the Vice President, said while there was much to be done in the MSMEs space to achieve the desired objectives, issues around integrity in the conduct of small businesses has to be addressed as well. He submitted that lack of integrity is among factors militating against the growth of small businesses in the country.
He therefore urged “aspiring small business owners who have the ambition of becoming big players in the future to note that the qualities of integrity and customer satisfaction are key to the success of any business.”
Prof. Oduyoye, further stated that as significant as MSMEs are to the economy of nations, it is noteworthy that the financing gap for the sector in many developing countries is a militating factor for growth. Hence the need for the government, particularly the Federal Government, to give more financial assistance to small businesses.
Speaking briefly at the end of the inaugural lecture, Prof. Osinbajo noted that Federal and State Governments must keep working on small businesses because that is the future of our country. He said, “There is no question that the economic future of our country will depend on small businesses.”
He explained that this was why the MSME Clinics were designed by the Federal Government to bring regulatory agencies, whose work affects the business experience of MSMEs, in direct interface with small business owners in the same spot.
Speaking specifically on recent government interventions, Prof. Osinbajo said “one of the things we did with MSMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic and right afterward is what we call the MSMEs Survival Fund.”
He disclosed that the MSMEs Survival Fund gave almost a million businesses support after the pandemic, adding that three months’ salary of several of the MSMEs, especially private schools – private primary schools, private secondary schools were paid, not only for teachers but also for several other businesses.
According to the VP, a lot more money is needed in order to support more businesses in a way that they ought to be supported. He added that the African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed to support the government with $500million for MSMEs in technology, in particular, noting that this is something that will be very helpful in addition to the N75 billion (Youth Fund) which the government has set aside for young people in small businesses.
Prof. Osinbajo also commended the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, owners of the University, for the investment they have made in education. He implored several religious organizations to follow the same direction.
He stated that “The real work of ministry is a work of ministering to the people, especially those who cannot afford to do many of those things themselves. The work that the ministries did was the reason the likes of Professor Oduyoye and I are here.
“So, I believe that it is very important that religious organizations see this as primary in all of the tasks and things they choose to do.”
Other dignitaries present at the event include Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele; Former Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) Boss, Dr. Babatunde Fowler; board member of Nigeria-Canada Trade and Investment Group, Chief Taiwo Odutola; the Vice-Chancellor of Babcock University, Prof. Ademola Tayo; the Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi; the Olofin of Ilishan, Oba Arimasakin Olufemi Shonuga, to mention but a few.