Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration assisted one million businesses after the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the assistance was informed by the administration’s economic decision to support Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to raise hope, create jobs and opportunities that will engender development in the country.
Osinbajo 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.
The vice president who spoke at the end of the lecture noted that federal and state governments “must keep working on small businesses because that is the future of our country. There is no question that the economic future of our country will depend on small businesses.”
In a statement issued by his media aide, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said 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.
He said, “What we do is to visit the states with the regulatory agencies, we would also go with FIRS, NAFDAC, SON, CAC, and co.
These regulatory agencies would meet with the MSMEs and discuss their various problems.
The obvious reason is that MSMEs are indisputably the engine of growth in any economy.”
Speaking specifically on recent government interventions, 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.”
“The MSMEs Survival Fund gave almost a million businesses support after the pandemic. We paid three months’ salary of several of the MSMEs, especially private schools – private primary schools, private secondary schools. We paid for teachers and also for several other businesses.”
According to the VP, “as I keep saying, Nigeria is a large country, in order to deal with all those issues and in order to support more businesses in a way that they ought to be supported, a lot more money is needed.”
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.”