To launch MSME clinic
The Vice President is coming to kick start a new program of the Federal Government known as THE MSME CLINIC, a project which is planned to create a platform to boost the performance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.
Interestingly, the Federal Government chose Aba, the great Enyimba City as take off point for the program in recognition of the supremacy of the town as Nigeria’s numero uno in the area of small business development and in clear recognition of the efforts of the Ikpeazu administration in championing the cause of local manufacturing activities in the town and the state.
A short while ago, an advance team from the office of the Vice President led by his Special Assistant on MSMEs, Mr. Tola Johnson finished a meeting with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu where they briefed him on the visit of the Vice President.
The team informed the Governor that one of the cardinal programs of the Federal Government this year is to provide heavy support for the growth and development of small businesses as a deliberate strategy to grow our economy and help provide jobs. This strategy will be championed by the office of the Vice President.
He further told the Governor that the Federal Government has watched with keen interest and satisfaction, the efforts of the Abia State Governor to promote and champion the cause of the Aba Business Community and bring it to national and global attention, adding that it was this situation that made the President to state in very clear terms in his 2017 budget speech that the Federal Government will pursue the growth of businesses that will help grow our economy. In particular terms, the President stated in that speech that the Federal Government will support garment makers, shoe makers and will provide support for manufacturing giants like Aba.
They stated further that the Vice President has followed closely, Governor Ikpeazu’s personal campaign for the advancement of MADE IN ABA goods and that when it was time to choose a place to kickstart this program, the Vice President was unequivocal in saying…WE WILL GO TO ABA.
The MSME CLINIC is designed to be a platform created by the Federal Government to deal first hand with the institutional challenges faced by small businesses in the country. During the clinic, all agencies of government that handle all issues concerning indigenous businesses will be on ground to provide on the spot solutions to challenges faced by these business concerns. These include challenges of access to finance, registration of businesses, standardization, quality control, marketing, etc.
Therefore, the clinic will have heads of agencies like NAFDAC, SON, BOI, SMEDAN, CBN, CAC who will come with their key staff to handle issues raised by the business community ON THE SPOT.
In addition, the Vice President will personally interact with these business people to find ways of assisting them.
The pilot scheme will be launched in Abuja on January 24, 2017 after which the train moves to Aba on the 26th to be personally led by Mr. Vice President.
Governor Ikpeazu will also be delivering a paper at the national launch as the most MSME compliant Governor in Nigeria.
Responding, an elated Governor Okezie Ikpeazu expressed deep satisfaction that the Federal Government is recognizing the modest efforts of his government in this area, noting that the only way forward for us as a country is to strengthen local manufacturing concerns in every aspect.
He pledged the commitment of his government and his own personal commitment to this objective, adding that he will do everything possible to provide support for these artisans and manufacturers.
He went into a long lecture on the ABA ECONOMIC POTENTIALS from the garment to the shoe to the commercial to the local iron tools fabricating industrial clusters in the town assuring the team that if supported, the Aba Business Community has the potential to lead the March for a new Nigeria. At a point in his lecture, the Governor pulled the ABA MADE slippers he was wearing and told the team members that it was not only solid but better than the ones they wore.
The Governor further requested that the Vice President also comes with the leadership of the NDDC to come and explain why they have abandoned Ohanku and Obohia roads after initially awarding the contract for their rehabilitation, leading to a contractual impasse which has stopped his government from commencing the fixing of those two key roads in Aba.
He thanked the Vice President for the choice of Aba for this event, a choice he described as natural since Aba is clearly the leader in this area and has so been for several decades.
He assured the team that the government and people of Abia State and indeed, the people of Aba will receive the Vice President with warmth and enthusiasm, assuring them that WE WILL BE READY FOR THE VISIT.
He also used the opportunity to remind the Federal Government of the very precarious state of federal roads in the state which remains one of the biggest challenges to the growth of small businesses in the state.
He gave an example with Port Harcourt Road which houses one of the largest iron and steel fabricating indigenous initiatives in Nigeria but cannot be assessed due to the state of the road which is a federal road. He told the team that the fabrication that goes on at PH road is the largest in the country, adding that there is no kind of steel tool that cannot be fabricated at Port Harcourt road. Indeed, the management of Nigerian Breweries has relied on PH Road for owner three decades for the fabrication of tools used in thwarting breweries across the country.
The Governor told the team that the desire to provide an enabling environment for the growth of the Aba Business Community explains the massive investment in roads in the town. He gave examples with the ongoing rehabilitation of Faulks Road and the launch, this Friday, of the Osisioma interchange.
A Local Organizing Committee had been set up by the State Government to ensure a seamless organization of the event led by the Secretary to the State Government, Commissioners, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Communications, etc.