In a proposed small scale empowerment scheme, President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that his administration intends to ensure that at least 10 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have access to soft loans at a single-digit interest rate.
A supportive business environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs have been created, according to President Buhari, through the development of strategic policy interventions, the enshrinement of laws, and the establishment of institutions. The federal government is eager to assist MSMEs in realizing their full potential, he added.
At the 17th Abuja International Trade Fair’s opening ceremony yesterday, Mr. Buhari made the comments.
Represented at the event by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, President Buhari said to achieve that plan, the trade and investment ministry has developed a program that will enhance access to credit for over 10 million MSMEs at a single-digit rate.
“Aside from the provision of finance, this project will address key ecosystem issues such as the development of MSME clusters to lower operating costs as well as capacity building initiatives,” the President said at the Abuja event.
He disclosed that the ministry has also commenced the process of adopting a centralized automated platform for the registration of Trademarks, Patents, and Designs. The overall objective is to fully digitize existing records and automate the registration process to enable ownership and commercialization of innovation.
The federal government has also approved fiscal incentives for MSMEs which include exemption from Company Income Tax and Value Added Tax for enterprises with an annual turnover of less than 25 million Naira. The Pioneer Status Incentive also grants tax holidays for start-ups across multiple sectors.
The president urged for a focus on how MSMEs can be energized as vehicles for economic growth.
Also, the president of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Al Mujtaba Abubakar has challenged small-scale businesses to embrace technology to advance their business operations. He told them of the fact that digitization offers a range of opportunities for SMEs to improve performance, spur innovation, enhance productivity and compete on a more even footing with larger firms, reflecting: economies of scale; lower operation and transaction costs; and reduced information asymmetries.
Abubakar said the 17th trade fair will also strengthen trade and investment opportunities in the country, thus, offering a neutral and open atmosphere for blue chip companies, trade groups/associations, and the government.
Dr Abubakar enjoined all participants, exhibitors, shoppers, and visitors to leverage this year’s edition of the fair for business connectivity that will improve the economy. He also urged the participants to attend the special days by different government agencies, ministries, parastatals, states, and countries at the fair.