Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government had spent N1.2 billion to support Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Gombe state.
Osinbajo disclosed this while delivering his speech at the 27th edition of National MSMEs Clinic held in Gombe, on Tuesday.
According to him, the MSMEs initiative of the Federal Government was aimed at boosting the economy of the country as well as creating jobs for Nigerian youths.
He said that the programme was an initiative of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to support small businesses across the country, under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), to help young businesses and the vulnerable.
“ The programme has benefited Gombe state, with over 9, 085 employees from close to 2, 000 MSMEs in the education sector alone benefitting from the scheme.
“ Another 10, 000 artisans and transporters in the state have also benefited, while 6, 000 new businesses had been registered free of charge with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“ In all, MSMEs in Gombe state have been supported by the Federal Government with almost N1.2 billion under the ESP.
“There is more to come, the Federal Government will provide more support; additional businesses and employees, we are told, are undergoing verifications to be shortlisted for payment,” Osinbajo said.
Earlier, Osinbajo visited the Gombe Industrial Cluster, where he inspected small-scale businesses that form the clusters comprising mainly of groundnut oil and rice millers.
Mr Mohammed Sani, chairman of the Gombe state Groundnut Oil Millers Association, appreciated the Federal Government’s effort in agriculture which is boosting small-scale businesses.
Sani said that over 700 milling machines were used by his members, with over 25, 000 direct and indirect jobs created, while over 1, 400 tonnes of groundnut was being processed daily.
Meanwhile, Mrs Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, has described the MSMEs sector as the engine of growth of any economy, contributing to development, job creation and export capacity.
Katagum said the latest Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on MSMEs survey showed that the sector contributed 50 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and accounted for 80 per cent employment.
She added that the sector was key to reducing poverty and unemployment, hence the move by the Federal Government to leverage the sector to impact positively on the living standards of Nigerians.
Also speaking, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state, said the MSMEs initiative would help small and medium scale businesses in areas of improving access to finance and business registrations.
Yahaya added that access to market, skills acquisition and compliance with regulatory requirements were also included in the initiative.
He appreciated the Federal Government’s programme to improve the living standards of citizens of the state, saying that his administration was working hard to create an environment conducive for businesses to thrive.
“This administration is working to reposition the MSME subsector; already the bill for the creation of the Gombe State Enterprise Development Agency is before the House of Assembly.
“When created, the Agency is expected to drive MSME development in the State by harnessing the enormous potentials of our small and medium scale businesses, across various economic and social sectors,” the governor assured.(NAN)