We Are Determined To Protect SMEs—Shettima

December 20, 2023

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Vice President, Mr Kashim Shettima, has said the federal government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s watch will never shift ground in its determination to protect businesses in Nigeria.

In a statement signed by Mr Stanley Nkwocha, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, the VP said enterprises are not only the bedrock of a society but also reflect the direction the government is heading and the speed with which it is doing so.

The VP who stated this on Wednesday while commissioning the corporate headquarters of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in Abuja, noted that the government was strategically focusing on job creation, capital accessibility, economic growth, and poverty eradication to revamp the economy.

Mr Shettima said, “Allow me to emphasise the importance of this moment: there is no more fitting time than now to reinforce the protection of enterprises in Nigeria. These enterprises not only stand as the very bedrock of our society but also reflect the direction the government is headed and the velocity with which we do so.

“This moment solidifies His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s assurance to protect our enterprises. It resonates deeply within our economic revitalisation plan. His focus on job creation, capital accessibility, economic growth, and poverty eradication forms the very skeleton of our strategy to invigorate the economy. Inevitably, this path demands tough decisions, yet ones essential to our success.”

The VP also recalled that he had inaugurated the National MSME Council ten days ago, saying it was just the beginning that sets the stage for what is up ahead.

Explaining how President Tinubu intends to make sure businesses and other economic enterprises prosper in the country, VP Shettima said, “Notably, our partnership with the Bank of Industry to unveil a N75 billion, 9 per cent interest loan accessible to Nigerian MSMEs as of January 2024 is a pivotal stride. This initiative is geared towards fostering a more conducive and enabling business environment.

“This government doesn’t just boast some of the nation’s finest talents; it champions those invested in ensuring our business owners have front-row seats in our journey towards progress. Our goal is to cultivate an ecosystem where Nigerian businesses become regular features in globally recognized publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times for the right reasons.

“We are all well aware that Mr President’s readiness to take action has never faltered, and what we are witnessing here is just a component of the strategies in place to create a future brimming with endless opportunities.”

The Vice President congratulated the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mrs Doris Uzoka-Anite, and the leadership of SMEDAN, saying they have proven that they are ready to transform “concepts into tangible actions.

“This initiative renews hope for a critical segment of our entrepreneurial community, and highlights our sensitivity to the economic clock of the nation,” he added.

On her part, Mrs Uzoka-Anite thanked the VP for his unwavering support of MSMEs in the country, noting that the completion and commissioning of the new SMEDAN Complex was a clear demonstration of the commitment of the administration to the development of the MSME space.

She also outlined other initiatives of the federal government targeted at building capacity and linking MSMEs to markets at home and abroad.

For his part, the Director General of SMEDAN, Mr Charles Odii, thanked the Vice President for his support and guidance in the actualisation of the project and leadership in the MSME space.

He said the agency and the entire MSME community in Nigeria have recorded significant achievements within a short period under the leadership of the VP, assuring that the agency will continue to collaborate with sister organisations to ensure sustainable growth in the sector.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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