Mr Bode Olaonipekun, Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives.

The State Government of Osun has said that the ongoing mass registration of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with the Corporate Affairs Commission, is part of the government’s Post-COVID-19 intervention to strengthen businesses and economic activities in the State.

The government also stated that other interventions like the skill upgrade programme are still running, and it is aimed at empowering about 15000 citizens of the State.

The Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Bode Olaonipekun, speaking during an interview, said by conducting a mass registration of businesses that were already operating within the set up of MSMEs, the government intended to open up a new frontier for the expansion of the businesses.

According to him: “The free registration of businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission is actually a Federal Government empowerment programme. It is part of the Post-COVID-19 intervention aimed at helping MSMEs. So, what we are doing is to support the Federal Government project using the template that the government has given its consultants and registrars at each of the senatorial districts to implement.

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“We have the details of different trade and artisan groups in the State, which form the core of those that should benefit from it. That is why the Ministry of Commerce is directly involved in the process.

“Most of our artisans already operate within MSME set-up but they are limited in taking up corporate engagements because they are not registered. They have been at a disadvantage when it comes to participating in public procurement processes as a result of not having registered companies that they can present. However, this mass registration process would open up a new frontier of business expansion for the MSMEs who were not previously registered.

“The Corporate Affairs registration will give credence to the operations of businesses and their ability to transact business with the government and organized bodies. It would also position the registered MSMEs for accessing some Post-COVID-19 interventions from the government to businesses, like grants and loans that cut across every sector of the economy from agricultural processes to media production. It will provide opportunities for accessing finance which would also help in the expansion of their businesses.

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“In the State of Osun, the guideline for implementation says that each of the local government should have 220 businesses registered. So, there is an equation that cannot be breached because there is a defined mileage, and that is exactly what we are implementing. So, we are ensuring that it gets to all the local governments and that it cuts across the economic lives of our people. So far, we have registered about 3000 businesses. About 2000 slots particularly earmarked for the youths.

“For us as a State, aside from the registration, there are other Post-COVID-19 empowerment schemes running. We have the skills upgrade programme through which we have trained 2000 people so far and also given start-up funds which we called seed fund. This is a continuous programme and the benchmark for this is 15000.

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“Also, there are other interventions of the Federal government that the State is leveraging on to ensure that our people who are qualified to benefit from all these interventions get them. So far, we have been able to assist over 2000 people to tap into the various aspects of these interventions”, Olaonipekun stated.