President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration is planning to ensure that at least 10 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have access to soft credit at a single digit interest rate in a proposed small scale empowerment scheme.
President Buhari also said the federal government is keen to help MSMEs achieve their full potential and has developed strategic policy interventions, enshrined laws and established institutions to create a supportive business environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs.
Mr Buhari made the remarks yesterday at the opening ceremony of the 17th Abuja International Trade Fair.
Represented at the event by the minister of industry, trade and investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, President Buhari said to achieve that plan, the trade and investment ministry has developed a programme that will enhance access to credit for over 10 million MSMEs at single digit rate.
“Aside from provision of finance, this project will address key ecosystem issues such as development of MSME clusters to lower operating costs as well as capacity building initiatives,” the President said at the Abuja event.
He disclosed that the ministry has also commenced the process of adopting a centralised automated platform for the registration of Trademarks, Patents and Designs. The overall objective is to fully digitise existing records and automate the registration process to enable ownership and commercialisation of innovation.
The federal government has also approved fiscal incentives for MSMEs which includes exemption from Company Income Tax and Value Added Tax for enterprises with annual turnover of less than 25 million Naira. The Pioneer Status Incentive also grants tax holidays for start-ups across multiple sectors.
The president urged for a focus on how MSMEs can be energised as vehicles for economic growth.
Also, president of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Al Mujtaba Abubakar has challenged small scale businesses to embrace technology to advance their business operations. He told them of the fact that digitization offers a range of opportunities for SMEs to improve performance, spur innovation, enhance productivity and compete on a more even footing with larger firms, reflecting: economies of scale; lower operation and transaction costs; and reduced information asymmetries.
Abubakar said the 17th trade fair will also strengthen trade and investment opportunities in the country, thus, offering a neutral and open atmosphere for blue chip companies, trade groups/associations, and government.
Dr Abubakar enjoined all participants, exhibitors, shoppers and visitors to leverage on this year’s edition of the fair for business connectivity that will improve the economy. He also urged the participants to attend the special days by different government agencies, ministries, parastatals, states and countries at the fair.