By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The federal government yesterday said it would launch one-stop shop programmes in seven states of the country to significantly boost Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
It said the launch would facilitate smoother government regulation and interface between entrepreneurs and agencies of government such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and others.
The government which recalled that the first one-stop shop was launched recently in Jos, the Plateau State capital, said MSMEs clinics which had held in several states provides opportunities for entrepreneurs and local producers to interact with regulatory agencies.
It said the programme creates opportunities in a permanent location to achieve the same purpose.
A statement by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajoâ€™s media aide, Mr. Laolu Akande, listed the next beneficiaries of the programme to include: Abia, Cross River, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Kano, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said the states are scheduled to have their own share of the programme in September and October while more of one-stop shops are expected to be launched in other states before the end of the year.
Akande described one-stop-shop programme as part of the on-going nationwide MSME clinics initiated by theÂ Presidency in January 2017 with the aim of providing a platform for convenient, continuous and easy interactions between regulatory agencies and MSMEs doing businesses in Nigeria.
â€œThe MSMEs Clinics, one of the diversification initiatives of the Buhari administration, was designed to give small businesses the opportunity to meet with the industry regulators, to talk to them and to hear their problems in an effort to spur local production and harness the nationâ€™s export potential in the process.
â€œAlready, one of such one-stop shops for MSMEs in Plateau State had officially been launched in Jos on Thursday, 24th of August 2017 and would be housed by the Plateau State Micro-Finance Development Agency (PLASMEDA).
â€œThe agencies to be housed in the One-Stop Shops include the Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), CAC, FIRS, SON, NAFDAC, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), and Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
â€œIt will also be a one-stop destination housing representatives of key government agencies under one roof where members of the public, entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs, can visit to engage with these agencies, make enquiries, report complaints and receive information that can boost their business plans and ideas.
â€œAt the launch of the Katsina Stateâ€™s MSMEs Clinic in Katsina in May, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, noted that the MSMEs clinics were the Buhari administrationâ€™s effort to bridge the gap between MSMEs and relevant FG regulatory agencies, like NAFDAC, CAC, BOI, FIRS and others and ensure that those agencies become facilitators of businesses, not obstacles to business development.
â€œThe evidence is that over the years government and its agencies are seen more as an obstacle, a hindrance rather than a facilitator, and this is across all arms of government; the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. We have talked extensively about the executive and about the problems that people have interacting with the executive agencies but so it is with the Judiciary as well.
â€œSimilarly, the Vice President had urged public servants to imbibe the administrationâ€™s culture of transparency and accountability in discharging their respective duties, especially regarding the creation of an enabling business environment.
â€œEvery time that a public servant is an obstacle to anyone seeking approvals or licenses, he or she attacks the Nigerian economy and its future. Our individual and collective vision or objective as civil or public servants must be advancing the social and economic prosperity of Nigeria,â€™â€™ the statement said.