Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the Federal Government has set up palliatives to assist Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) to survive the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vice president said that the palliatives reflected the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s determination to support MSMEs and the priority the Federal Government placed on small businesses.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president performed the virtual launch of palliatives for MSMEs by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday in Abuja.

Osinbajo listed the Federal Government’s palliatives as, “E-Registration of MSMEs/products at 80 percent 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 vice president, businesses across the world confront the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the Federal Government would continue to adopt and implement practical measures to ensure that the projected growth in the MSMEs sector was not seriously affected by the development.

“Of importance to the government’s response was to find ways of not just giving succor and assistance to existing MSMEs but also ensuring that there is a 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.”

Osinbajo also spoke on some of the steps taken by the Federal Government to protect private investments especially small businesses in the country.

He said that President Buhari had, from the onset of the health cum economic crisis, taken strategic decisions aimed at insulating businesses from imminent collapse.

“Just after the first index case of the disease was discovered in Nigeria and before the lockdowns began, the President put together strategic teams to immediately determine the impact of the disruptions likely to be caused to the economy.

”What our immediate and medium to long term approach should be. The vulnerability of MSMEs to the severe shocks that were to follow was a 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.”

According to the vice president, the launch of NAFDAC palliatives for MSMEs is a thoughtful and strategic response to the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osinbajo said that the e-registration assistance for MSMEs through the Automated Product Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS) was 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.”

“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 a business environment.”

“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,” he said.

Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, alongside representatives of federal regulatory agencies in the MSMEs sector also participated in the virtual event.