President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday inaugurated the National Council on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, which he said is aimed at building an economy that works for all Nigerians.
The Council is chaired by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo.
Mr. Jonathan said the council’s inauguration was focused on creating a turning point in the national economic development drive of his administration in regards to making MSMEs the core elements of economic transformation.
“The creation of this council is a testament to the commitment of this administration to all inclusive economic growth,” he said. “Our commitment is to meet the aspirations of our people and in doing so ensuring rapid economic development, benefiting all our citizens, north, south, east or west. Our focus will remain to build an economy that works for all Nigerians, and the MSME council that we are to inaugurate today is essential to achieving this goal.”
He noted that over the past few years, the country had demonstrated its determination to become a world economic leader, by achieving a reasonable level of macro-economic stability even in the face of global economic recession.
President Jonathan harped on the need for critical economic issues of inclusion and wealth distribution to be urgently addressed as the country built a strong economy which would attract unprecedented investments.
“I repeat, we must ensure that this economy works for all of our people; that we indeed become a land of opportunities for all and a land where hopes become reality regardless of who you are, where you hail from or whatever belief you share. This our land must be where our youths have jobs and our people can take their economic destinies in their own hands.
“It must be a land where poverty is eradicated and our people can live in dignity. This is the Nigeria we all must work to make possible and the MSME council has a great role to place to make this a reality’’ he said.
He added that with the inauguration of the council, his administration was making the MSME the most integral part of national policy by making sure that all the 774 local government areas in the country are covered.
The president also said the appointment of the Vice President as the chairman of the council underlined the importance placed on small business development on the economy at large.
He urged the council to urgently develop a detailed financial value chain intervention strategy for the MSMEs to remove all the barriers in their effort to access finance.
The president also commended members of the committee for heeding the call to national service and challenged them to “expand the frontiers of their thoughts and ideas” as they embarked on the assignment. He noted the members were specially selected because of their unique capacity in their areas of specialisation.
Responding on behalf of the Council, Mr. Sambo commended the President for the “bold initiative of approving and inaugurating the council for the first time in the history of our dear nation.”
He said, “This underscores the importance of MSMEs in then overall development agenda of this administration. In order to properly position and develop this all important sub-sector for the achievement of the transformation agenda and the national Vision 20:2020, all the challenges militating against their optimum performance must be deliberately confronted.
“Therefore, the National Council on MSMEs, as approved and inaugurated by Mr President today, will holistically face the challenges confronting MSMEs in Nigeria. On behalf of members of the National Council on MSMEs, we wholeheartedly accept this responsibility and pledge to execute this national assignment to the best of our ability and loyalty to service.”