Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has said that his administration remains committed to deploying government resources and services in a way that enables every resident of Enugu State to make a living, create wealth, send their children to school and live in a safe and secure environment.
The governor who reiterated this at the 19th National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Clinic held at the Okpara Square, Enugu, organised by the federal government in conjunction with the Enugu State government, noted that his administration has as a result, taken measures that guarantee all residents equal access to MSME programmes including funds regardless of their state of origin, nationality or political persuasion.
He also received commendation from Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who praised him for his administration’s unceasing cooperation with the federal government in the advancement of the set objectives of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the state and beyond.
Prof. Osinbajo who said he was “extremely delighted” with the “kindness and warm reception” the state government always accords him whenever he visits Enugu State, also applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for “the very great steps” his administration has taken in the growth and development of the MSME programme.
The Vice President added that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration “is doing very well for the MSME” and in advancing the interest of small entrepreneurs, stressing that “the governor deserves a warm applause for the great works he has been doing”.
Prof Osinbajo noted that the MSME Clinic initiative was “particularly important” to the federal government and extended its hand of cooperation and fellowship to Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration, disclosing that President Buhari’s administration “is fully committed in supporting states regardless of political or ethnic affiliations”.
He further disclosed that the federal government has “provided close to N2 trillion” for its social investment programmes, stressing that “small businesses are the future of our country”.
While reiterating the federal government’s commitment to the growth and development of entrepreneurship and small businesses, Prof. Osinbajo, expressed confidence that “together we will bring the deserved prosperity, not just to the people of Enugu State, but also to the people of Nigeria”.
Commending President Muhammadu Buhari for the vision behind the conception of this MSME Clinic, Gov. Ugwuanyi said he is convinced the interaction at the clinic can help collapse the barriers that often frustrate innovation and destroy budding enterprises.
“I am sure the clinic will help highlight issues as the need to extend pioneer status and tax rebates to young graduates across Nigeria who are willing to follow entrepreneurial pathways that create jobs; acceleration of NAFDAC certification to young entrepreneurs to enable them access MSME funds as well as the challenges of transporting goods to and fro the various parts of the country among others,” Ugwuanyi said at the forum which also featured exhibition of items produced by small scale entrepreneurs.
Also, noting that Enugu State has continued to enjoy a mutually rewarding and strategic partnership with the federal government on several fronts, Gov. Ugwuanyi said: “Under the CBN 220 Billion MSME Development Fund, Enugu State is one of few states that have fully implemented the programme funding over 2000 MSMEs and has also returned about N400 million out of the first tranche of N500 million received from CBN. We wish also to commend, the CBN on the ‘Ose Nsukka’ (Nsukka Yellow Pepper) Anchor Borrowers Programme as well as other initiatives of the Bank in Enugu State.
“Our counterpart funding with the Bank of Industry (BOI) has produced over 36 SMEs worth more than N399 million in project value. From 2015, Enugu SME Center, our foremost enterprise development institute, has trained over 35,000 MSME owners and aspiring entrepreneurs including women and youths; and we have empowered more than 2400 traders with N50,000 each through our raffle program open to all MSMEs in 54 local markets in the state.”
On social investment schemes, he explained that over seven thousand applicants had benefited from Government Enterprise Empowerment Program (GEEP), otherwise called ‘Market Moni’, adding that Enugu State has received and successfully deployed over 16,000 beneficiaries to schools, farms and other places of assignment through the N-Power programme.
“We are currently concluding arrangements to officially launch the implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in six selected local government councils. We are thus, leveraging social investment programs, both ours and that of the Federal Government to lift our people out of abject poverty while devoting MSME development funds to the formation of MSMEs that create wealth, jobs, empower people and also transform communities. All these are anchored on our firm belief that entrepreneurship and enterprise development are the pathways to sustainable development, employment creation and poverty eradication.
“We are happy therefore to join hands with our dear Vice President to use the National MSME Clinic to unleash the potentials of our private sector using MSMEs and also ensuring that the clinic remains sustainable,” he said.