By Emmanuella Anokam
Mr Tola Johnson, a Presidential Aide, has commended the National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC) for suspending its recent hike of tariffs of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
He gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja at the 2019 “World MSMEs Day’’ celebration organised by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
Johnson, a Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on MSMEs, recalled that the recent increase of MSMEs tariff to 60 per cent by NAFDAC made pressure groups and MSMEs across the country to agitate and expressed dissatisfaction because it was not favourable.
“I commend NAFDAC for giving listening ears to the MSMEs; an increase from N10, 000 to N84, 000 in MSMEs tariff would have caused a lot of burden to the MSMEs in the country.’’
He expressed satisfaction with the suspension and advised the agency to always engage all stakeholders and spell out its reasons before increasing any tariff.
Johnson also commended the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for extending its bonanza period for registration of small businesses to August 2019.
He advised the MSMEs to seize the opportunity to register their businesses with appropriate and meaningful names to boost their businesses and financial transactions.
According to him, the MSMEs have major challenges which differ in various places, ranging from finance issues, power generation and training, among others.
He identified the broadest challenge facing the MSMEs as access to finance and reiterated commitment of the Federal Government to continue to introduce laudable schemes which MSMEs could access easily with low interest rates.
In a keynote address, Mrs Ekaette Umoh, a Former Chairperson of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), Abuja Chapter, said that there were 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be attained by 2030.
Umoh said that Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) of the SDGs related to SMEDAN.
“Goals number eight and nine are our concern as entrepreneurs and development partners. SMEDAN has played a commendable role in the attainment of those goals.
“MSMEs are the key to creating the 600 million jobs needed by 2030 to keep pace with the growth of the world’s working age population’’.
She urged SMEDAN to use the opportunity of the 2019 World MSMEs Day to mobilise the political will and resources to address global problems, celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.
Umoh urged SMEDAN to also be a main player in the entrepreneurship space and partake in “World Entrepreneurship Day.’’
The 2019 event, which featured “awareness road walk’’ and exhibition of the products of the MSMEs, has its theme as: “Big Money for Small Business: Financing the SDGs’’.