The Federal Government has issued a set of palliatives to help MSMEs wade through the current economic fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, these palliatives reflect the Buhari administration’s determination to support MSMEs and the priority the Federal Government places on small businesses.
The palliatives are:
E-Registration of MSMEs/products at 80% discounted rate over a period of six months.
Zero tariffs for the first 200 micro and small businesses to register on the E-platform.
Waiver on administrative charges for overdue late renewal of expired licenses of micro/small businesses products for a period of 90 days.
According to the VP, as businesses across the world confront the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Government will continue to adopt and implement practical measures to ensure that the projected growth in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector is not seriously affected by the development.
He gave the assurance in Abuja at the virtual launch of palliatives for MSMEs by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo added that “of importance to the government’s response was to find ways of not just giving succour and assistance to existing MSMEs but also ensuring that there is practical and active fillip to new MSMEs so that the growth of this sector is not discouraged by the current economic trauma.
“This is our moment and the government of Nigeria and its regulatory agencies are prepared to back MSMEs and other businesses that are prepared for the innovative and interesting times that lie ahead of us.”
Speaking specifically about some of the steps taken by the Federal Government to protect private investments especially small businesses in the country, Prof. Osinbajo said, President Muhammadu Buhari had from the onset of the health cum economic crisis taken strategic decisions aimed at insulating businesses from imminent collapse.
According to him, “just after the first index case of the disease was discovered in Nigeria and before the lockdowns began, Mr. President put together strategic teams to immediately determine the impact of the disruptions likely to be caused to the economy and what our immediate and medium to long term approach should be.
“The vulnerability of MSMEs to the severe shocks that were to follow was priority at every consideration of the issues. But perhaps even our best projections could hardly have predicted the massive economic disruptions, the unprecedented number of business failures, job losses of what began as a health challenge and the ensuing lockdowns would cause especially to MSMEs, who, of course as you know, are the backbone of our entire economy.
“As the President has repeatedly urged, we have no excuse not to be one of the most productive and prolific economies in the world. Our hope is to achieve this aim in the incredible numbers of MSMEs that we have,” the VP noted.
He described the launch of NAFDAC palliatives for MSMEs as “a thoughtful and strategic response to the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
According to the Vice President, “This is why the e-registration assistance for MSMEs through the Automated Product Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS) is so timely.
“These are all indicators of the new spirit of NAFDAC and foretaste of the support MSMEs stand to enjoy in wading through these trying times. But this is not a new undertaking for us. It is merely an extension or intensification of the Federal Government’s long-standing commitment to MSMEs.”
The VP urged regulatory agencies involved in the MSMEs sector to improve on their service delivery noting that “we expect to see from them in terms of innovation, adaptability in the next few months and through the challenges that we will be seeing in business environment.”
He then added that “I am sure that NAFDAC, SMEDAN, BOI and all of our MDAs concerned with the MSMEs see this period as one when we must work with the MSMEs, identify with them, and must be quick on the job to ensure we are able to resolve all of the problems that they have.”
Other participants at the event include the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye and representatives of federal regulatory agencies in the MSMEs sector.