ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY ALHAJI (DR.) ABDULFATAH AHMED, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KWARA STATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES CLINICS FOR VIABLE ENTERPRISES (MSME CLINICS) ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23RD, 2017.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome the Vice President, and other esteemed guests present here today to the State of Harmony for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)Clinic for viable enterprises in the state.
The level of priority the Federal government has placed on Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the country.
This program clearly shows the Federal Government is focused on repositioning MSMEs to drive inclusive economic growth, regional development, employment generation and poverty reduction.
It is pleasing to note that the MSME clinic not only bridges the information gap between entrepreneurs and federal agencies but also offers solutions to real time problems facing business owners today.
Truly, this initiative is timely and I applaud the Federal Government for setting up this initiative aimed at addressing the challenges of faced by entrepreneurs in the country.
As we are all aware, Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are one of the building blocks of any economy. They account for about two-thirds of total employment in developing countries and contribute about 50% to the GDP of developed countries.
However, despite the potential of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to contribute positively to the economy, Nigerian entrepreneurs are constantly faced with challenges when starting a business or running one.
According to the 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 average, with Nigeria ranking 169 out of 190 countries listed in the report.
This validates the complaints by Nigerian entrepreneurs across the country concerning the barriers they encounter while managing their businesses.
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 entrepreneursencounter.
Consequently, to remedy this situation in Kwara State, my administration has put in place strategies to promote entrepreneurship.
Through our various credit schemes such as the MSMEcredit support schemes, business owners are able to access much needed capital at single digit interest rates with minimal paper work.
These schemes are guided by the need to spur economic growth and create employment for our teeming unemployed population.
As a way to encourage entrepreneurs and stimulate economic development, I therefore, call on banks to provide long tenor funds at single-digit interest rate to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
I also urge the Federal Government to simplify regulatory frameworks, introduce market-friendly policies and improve the overall ease of doing business in the country.
No doubt, wealth and a high majority of jobs are created by small businesses started by entrepreneurially minded individuals, many of whom go on to create big businesses.
For this reason andcoupled with the high unemployment rate in the country, it has become increasingly important forus to introduce more young people to entrepreneurship education.
In recognition of the benefits of entrepreneurship education, we have made entrepreneurship courses compulsory for all students of Kwara State University.
Also, we have established the International Vocational Technical and Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC) in partnership with Alfred University, New York to promote inclusive human capital development within the context of national middle level manpower needs and global trends.
I, therefore advocate for the inclusion of entrepreneurship studies in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools and higher institutions of learning across the country.
Let me at this point assure entrepreneurs and businesses in Kwara State of our maximum support and cooperation at all times. We pledge to continue to provide an enabling environment for businesses to operate.
I urge entrepreneurs in Kwara State to take advantage of today’s program and the various support initiatives put in place by the Federal and State Governments to develop and expand your businesses.
In conclusion, I chargeKwarans and Nigeriansin general to patronize made-in-Nigeria products in order to ensure the development of small businesses and improve our economy.
Once again I commend the Federal Government for this timely initiative.
Thank You and God Bless.
Dr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, Executive Governor, Kwara State
23RD February, 2017.
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