By Franklin Alli
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) bodies in the country have given kudos to the Federal Government for its nationwide Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Clinic (MSMEs Business Clinic initiative).
Recall that the initiative was launched in July this year by the Federal Government and is being implemented through the supervision of the Office of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in collaboration with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) with the support of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and Abuja Enterprise Agency to address the challenges of MSMEs in Nigeria.
Since its introduction, the MSMEs Clinic had been launched in Abeokuta, Ogun State; Ilorin, Kwara State, Osogbo, Osun State, and it would soon be launched in Lagos State before the end of this month.
However, in their appraisal of the initiative, thought leaders in some of the SMEs organizations, including Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists, NASSI, and the Association of Small Business Owners, ASBON, said that the initiative was a good one that is capable of moving the sector forward.
Mr Kuti George, President, Lagos State Chapter of NASSI, said: “It is a worthy adventure because of what we called a gap-power distance, and that is the gap between the rulers and the ruled. People that act in the middle they don’t give the government the right feedback. People that act as the go-between the ruled and the rulers, they don’t give the rulers the right feedback and that is why governments don’t take the right decisions and policies and embrace the right approach to issues; that gap is being bridged now.’’
He added: “At the MSMEs Clinic, the government will be able to get the right information from the source, for example, they want to know the problems of MSMEs by listening to the operators. In doing this, they go with their agencies. At the Clinic, if somebody raises an issue about NAFDAC, the VP might ask NAFDAC, did you hear that? Okay, respond to that. So, the government knows what to do.’’
Femi Egbesola, National President of ASBON, also lauded the initiative, saying: ‘‘It is a good one, a good one in the sense that it provides a platform for the MSMEs to interact with the government and its agencies.’’
He, however, adviced: “What is happening at the MSMEs Business Clinic should not be a one day affair; we are not saying that the clinic should be done every day, what is happening at the clinic should be obtainable at the ministries and agencies when you go to their offices, you should be able to have that same privilege and provision being made available to MSMEs operators at the clinic. So, it should go beyond a day or a week affair. That’s my opinion about it.”
He, further advice the implementers of the programme to improve on information dissemination, stressing, although, our members are being carried along, because of lack of awareness only very few are privileged to attend. One is coming up in Lagos in two weeks’ time or so, but we don’t get enough information about the programme so that everybody can be carried along.”
Speaking during the launch of the MSME Clinic in Osogbo, Osun State on Thursday last week, Prof. Osinbajo said that the government will continue to support small businesses nationwide through its economic initiatives.
The Vice President further said that there are enough resources to go round if the country and its people use its resources well, while urging Nigerians to tap into the potential in their communities to create wealth through entrepreneurship and MSMEs.
“It is pleasing to know that over 4,250 participants registered to take part in this MSME clinic and that there are nearly 206 exhibitors across the agro-allied, manufacturing and retail sectors,” he said.