By Brenda Agba
The Federal Government of Nigeria is to establish a world class special Hub in Makurdi for use by small businesses in the tailoring cluster in Benue State.
This hub will be ready in the next three months.
The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, announced this Tuesday, in his speech during the flag-off of the first Expanded National Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Clinic held in Makurdi at the IBB Square.
The Vice President said the National Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Programmes tagged “Benue Open For Business”, is one of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s initiatives for job creation for Nigerians.
He commended the people of the state for being commited to hard work, being excellent in arts, creativity, agriculture and for the promotion of commerce, adding that the reputation and the diligent effort of everybody in Benue is such an inspiration for the people of the nation.
Shettima described the state as the most endowed in the federation especially in terms of natural resources, saying Benue has no business being poor.
According to the Vice President, the reason the Federal Government has decided to hold the first expanded national Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Clinic in the state, is in recognition of the role the people of Benue have played in offering the nation a means of trade and a vehicle for driving the MSMEs sub-sector.
He therefore charged participants at the clinic to take it seriously as according to him, “The MSMEs Clinic stands as a symbol of empowerment where dreams get opportunity, where innovation thrives and where the spirit of entrepreneurship is nurtured by strategic governance.
“Therefore, we must seize this opportunity to forge a path of prosperity to leverage resources at our disposal to create a thriving economic system for the growth of the MSMEs”.
Shettima further disclosed that, “We have in place a seventy billion naira (N75bn) nine percent (9%) single digit loan from the Bank of Industry (BOI). Additionally, Access Bank has made fifty billion naira (N50bn) of their funds available to MSMEs at that discount rate of fifteen percent (15%). This will significantly increase our loan portfolio and enhance our loan performance”.
While challenging business owners across the state to consider themselves a priority of the current administration the Vice President extended President Tinubu’s congratulations to Governor Alia and the people of the state, over the Supreme Court victory, and for hosting the first National MSMEs Clinic under his administration.
“Following this trail blazing journey, Delta, Kaduna, Borno and Katsina States as well as the Federal Capital Territory may meticulously plan itinerary for the first half of the year.
“The crescendo of this monumental efforts will culminate in the National MSMEs Awards set to grace the FCT on the 27th of June 2024, a pitching celebration commemorating the United Nations World MSMEs Day”, Shettima disclosed.
Earlier, while speaking at the event, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, had said that the current administration in the state will do everything possible to create an enabling environment for all businesses in the state to thrive.
The Governor while describing Benue as a state with numerous talents and different entrepreneurship skills, stated that his administration is committed to enhancing the welfare of the state through judicious use of available resources.
Alia further expressed appreciation to President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima for giving Benue the opportunity to host the programme, saying the government and the people of the state have not taken the MSMEs initiative for granted, especially as it is happening in the state for the first time.
He enumerated challenges faced by small businesses such as insecurity, difficulty in securing of business licenses and lack of loan facilities, with a call on the federal government to continue to collaborate with the state in this regard.
While appreciating the Federal Government for the donation of a 250kva Solar Power project at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) through the Office of the Vice President, Governor Alia said the state will continue to key into the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Tinubu led government for more of such supports.
In his good will message, Nigeria’s Minister for water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Terlumun Utsev, commended the Federal Government for the initiative.
He further revealed that in line with the President Tinubu’s development agenda, the Ministry has also earmarked 500,000 hectres of land for irrigation farming towards boosting the nation’s economy.