The National MSMEs Clinics and Booklet with the aim of finding solutions to problems militating against the speedy growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the country.
Inaugurating the Clinics at the Presidential conference hall, Abuja on Tuesday, Osinbajo said they were part of government strategic commitments aimed at improving the business environment across the country.
He revealed that the clinics would be inaugurated across the states of the federation, beginning with Abia on Thursday.
“Working very closely with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment we came up with the idea of MSMEs Clinics as an important building block not as a silver bullet, but as an important block in finding a solution.
“The term Clinics was chosen deliberately to reflect three things all borrowed from the health sector.
“The first is that individual MSMEs face problems that can hopefully be addressed through direct access to relevant officials.
“The second is that direct consultations with very senior experts will find a solution.
“The third is that a reasonably large number of people can be attended to without any need for expensive and time-consuming travel to agencies offices.
“In other words, great benefits could be reaped from exploiting economies of scale. So we will bring together key Federal Government agencies with whom the MSMEs interact in one place at a time.
“And so the small businesses can consult with them directly and obtain solutions on the spot,’’ he said.
The vice-president further maintained that the clinics would also serve as one-stop shop for dealing with various business concerns and approval issues.
He said they would give an opportunity for the MSMEs to interact directly with regulators.
“It is evident that the MSMEs clinic must go round various states to key locations.
“So we have therefore brought together state governments and this will also help to give us and the regulatory agencies a better understanding and also enable the state government themselves to play a key role in assisting with facilitating the business of MSMEs.
“We also expect the state government agencies to also imbibe and contribute in achieving the attitudinal change in supporting small businesses instead of making life difficult for them.’’
The Vice-President urged state governors to help mobilise MSMEs to take advantage of the clinics, when established, in their various states.
“It is important to stress that this is a Federal Government project; it is a commitment that the president has made to ensure that difference is made in the way we do pre-investment approvals.
“This has the full backing of Mr. President and he is extremely passionate.
“I must stress that our interest in achieving this result is one that we must all work towards. It is important to us and we must deliver on these things.
“I must say that the performance of agencies will be tracked by the number of solutions provided to MSMEs who visit their stands and what were the solutions.
“In other words, it’s the MSMES themselves that will give us a feedback on whether or not they got the desired assistance or not.
“I must say it is not simply to give the agencies opportunities to discuss their processes and say what they do.
“Of course is part of it but the most important is that we want agencies to deliver results right there on the spot to show the MSMEs and we and agencies to deliver result right there,’’ he said.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia described the inauguration as “a healthy development’’ for the growth of the nation’s economy.
According to him, this will provide an opportunity for the MSMEs to interact with relevant agencies to find lasting solutions to their problems.
“I think is a healthy development that one can have the opportunity to sit one-on-one with agencies like standards organisation, National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Inland Review Service and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), with those people whom they are supposed to serve and solve their problems.
“There is a lot of dislocation between policies and implementation.
“A times somebody beginning a business requires N250,000 to register and another N100,000 to get NAFDAC certification; it creates so much in terms of bottlenecks.
“So, like Mr. VP said, they should see themselves as enablers and facilitators of small businesses in Nigeria rather than obstacles. I think this clinic is designed to solve that problem and we are highly expectant.
“Made in Aba product is still trending and I think Nigerians will once again have the opportunity to see these young ones first hand what they can do.
Gov. Ahmed Abdulfatah of Kwara, who also spoke at the event, was optimistic that the MSMEs clinics would serve as “platform to articulate all platforms that will serve entrepreneurs in a better platform.
“This is one of the things to happen to MSMEs because for the first time we are sitting together to find the gaps. In the past, this programme has not worked in consonance’’.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Okey Enelamah, expressed the hope that the inauguration of the MSMEs clinics would not be another event in which nothing positive emerged.
He said: “This is to reinforce the message we have been saying. We don’t want this to be just another event and nothing impactful thereafter.
“MSMES are very important in terms of numbers, contribution to GDP, Job growth, value chains etc.
“What is more worthy of notes is that the problems are many. It is also true that unless we have concerted efforts, then these problems will be difficult to solve.
“Even MSMEs are getting impatient; they are tired of being told they are important.
“A clinic is to diagnose problems and solve them.’