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Investment in MSMEs shows Tinubu’s readiness to power growth – Oyebanji

By Ogunsona Samuel

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s promotion of small and medium scale business enterprises indicated his commitment to industrialisation, the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has said.

The Governor disclosed that the huge investment being made by the Federal Government to ramp up the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) underscored the high proclivity of Tinubu to enterprise development and inclusive growth.

Governor Oyebanji said MSMEs accounted for about 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the developed nations, saying huge investment being made towards developing the sector would help in driving Nigeria to overcoming the menace of poverty and unemployment.

The Governor added that considering the exponential spiraling in the level of unemployment rate in the country, it has become increasingly important for Nigeria to introduce more young people to entrepreneurship education.

Oyebanji said these on Thursday while hosting the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima who visited Ekiti State to commission the MSMEs Clinic in Ado Ekiti built by the Federal Government in partnership with his government.

Present at the event were the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Dele Alake; Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye; Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, Mr Temitola Adekunle- Johnson and heads of economic regulatory agencies.

Oyebanji in his speech at the event opined that the project represents a pragmatic step being taken by the Federal Government to make the youth economically conscious and contribute to the growth of GDP.

He said: “This programme, for which we are here today, is another eloquent proof of the APC’s government commitment at both the Federal and State levels to enterprise development.

“In Ekiti, as it is with the Federal Government, we believe in using MSMEs to drive inclusive economic growth, sustainable development, employment generation and poverty reduction.

” It is pleasing to note that MSME clinic does not only bridge the information gap between entrepreneurs and federal agencies, it also offers solutions to real time problems facing business owners today. Truly, this program is timely and I applaud President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for setting up this initiative aimed at addressing the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in the country.

“MSMEs account for about two-thirds of total employment in the developing countries and contribute about 50% to the GDP of developed countries”.

However, Oyebanji said despite the positive contributions of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to the economy, Nigerian entrepreneurs are constantly faced with challenges when starting a business or running one.

“According to World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2017 Report, Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be home to the economies with the least business-friendly regulations on the average, with Nigeria ranking 169 out of 190 countries listed in the report.

“Among the various issues facing MSMEs in the country is access to finance. It is no secret that the short term high interest rates charged by banks on credit facilities are at the top of the list of problems entrepreneurs encounter”.

To remedy this situation, Oyebanji said his administration has put in place strategies to promote entrepreneurship in the State through our various credit schemes such as the Ekiti State Government/Access Bank initiative for women, Cooperative Intervention Fund, Ekiti State Government /Bank of Industry Intervention Fund, among others.

As a way of motivating entrepreneurs and stimulate economic growth and development, Oyebanji called on other banks to provide long terms funds at a very minimal interest rate to entrepreneurs and small business owners

He stated that he had consented to the reconstitution of Ekiti State Council on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the State to further maximise the rising gains in the sector through adequate focus and right investment .

“In Ekiti State, we have a passion to develop our agricultural potential. Hence, we are very intentional about our development planning.The core of our efforts and strategies is a partnership approach that hinges on creating the right conditions that would attract investors and development partners to support our goals”.

The governor added that Ekiti Cargo Airport is part of the integrated plans to ensure the success of both Ekiti Knowledge Zone (EKZ) and Special Agro Processing Zone (SAPZ) by making the State more accessible and relevant as a major destination for agro-allied industries with international linkages.

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