*As VP Shettima commissions ultra-modern fashion hub, projects 48,000 jobs annually*

Respite has come the way of small business owners in Ekiti State following President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s directive that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) should be supported with a federal government grant of N150,000 each.

Vice President Kashim Shettima who disclosed this on Thursday when he launched the 3rd edition of the Expanded National MSMEs Clinic in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, said the N150,000 was an outright grant that does not require beneficiaries to repay.

“I am pleased to share that Mr. President has directed me to ensure that all outstanding exhibiting MSMEs at the Clinic today receive a grant of 150,000 Naira each. This is an outright grant, and the beneficiaries will not need to repay it. We extend our gratitude to our partners for their unwavering support,” he declared.

The Expanded National MSME Clinics is one of federal government’s strategies for making it easier to do business in Nigeria through a series of business forums organised in different cities across the country to proffer on-the-spot solutions to challenges confronting MSMEs, with the first and second editions launched in Benue and Ogun States respectively earlier this year.

Earlier on arrival in Ado-Ekiti, the VP who was received by Governor Biodun Oyebanji, his wife and other top government functionaries, commissioned the Ekiti State Ultra-Modern Fashion and Garment Hub at Odua Textile Complex, Basiri, Ado Ekiti.

Senator Shettima and his entourage also inspected the Adire Ekiti Hub, a pet project of the first lady of Ekiti State.

Launching the third edition of the Expanded MSME Clinics at the Trade Fair Complex, Old Iyin Road in Ado Ekiti, the Vice President hinted at the initiative moving next to Borno and Enugu States, “before culminating in the National MSME Awards in FCT on June 27, 2024, to commemorate the United Nations World MSME Day”.

The VP noted that the only way the Tinubu administration is appealing “to the land of honor and integrity” is by ensuring the expansion of the labour market and supporting the required skills. 

“Small businesses are the lifelines of communities across the nation and a strong pillar of stability during this critical phase of our economic transition. We cannot claim to have excelled in our interventions unless they remain our top priority. Our commitment to revitalizing the MSME sector ensures that these businesses continue to serve their essential buffering function,” he explained. 

For the ultra-modern MSME Fashion Hub which he commissioned earlier, VP Shettima said while it competes ideally with others globally, the hub has the potential of creating an estimated 48,000 jobs annually.

Describing the hub as a significant milestone by the Tinubu administration to empower local industries, he stated: “It boasts the capacity to produce a wide range of fashion gear, including military uniforms, and rivals any facility in the world. Equipped with modern-day machinery and technology, this hub holds immense potential for job creation, with projections estimating an average of 48,000 jobs annually. 

“We anticipate that this facility will be managed by a competent private sector entity, while both federal and state governments will maintain vigilant oversight over its operations. With over 300 pieces of cutting-edge equipment, this hub represents a significant milestone in our efforts to empower local industries”. 

The Vice President however expressed regret that it would not be possible to commission the other MSME Clinic project, a fully equipped ICT hub in Erinmope, which is about 2 hours from the state capital, due to time constraint. 

“However, the President has approved that His Excellency the Governor of Ekiti State, his team, Access Bank and BOI MDs, along with the SSA MSMEs and Job Creation to the President, facilitate the commissioning at the Governor’s earliest convenience. This hub will create an additional 10,000 jobs within the ICT space in the Erinmope area of Ekiti,” he noted.

The Vice President also disclosed that based on Governor Oyebanji’s request, President Tinubu has approved the establishment of another modern ICT facility in Ado Ekiti, a project he said “will be completed within 90 days from today (Thursday).

He conveyed President Tinubu’s gratitude to the government and people of Ekiti State for hosting the 3rd expanded National MSME Clinic under the Renewed Hope administration, describing it as a revitalization of the entire value chain of the nation’s MSME sub-sector.

In his remarks, Governor Oyebanji expressed gratitude to the VP for his wise counsel and support for his administration in the state, noting that President Tinubu had, indeed, been a father who has fulfilled all of his campaign promises.

He called on the political class in Ekiti to support his administration, noting that “it is only in unity that we can attract so much for the good of the our people.”

In his goodwill message, Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele commended the effective collaboration between the federal and state governments, culminating in the execution of the MSME focused projects.

He disclosed plans by his office to devote a portion of his constituency project funds in the coming year to support the development of MSMEs in the state.

On his part, the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr Dele Alake, assured the people of the state that their welfare and wellbeing are being prioritized by the Tinubu administration.

He urged Ekiti people to support the federal government regardless of the prevailing conditions, assuring that the future is bright, as “Nigeria is going through the challenges of economic restructuring and socio-economic re-engineering”.

In her remarks, the state Commissioner for Investment, Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon Omotayo Adeola, thanked the federal government for its relentless support to small businesses in the state which, according to her, birthed the first hub for garment makers in the state, among other related services.

Earlier, Vice President Shettima also inspected exhibition stands where products made in Ekiti State were on display by small businesses in the area.

During his visit to the Palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, HRM Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, the VP described Ekiti as a land of honour, commending the royal father and his chiefs for maintaining the peace in their domain and immensely supporting the administration of President Tinubu at all times.

On his part, the paramount ruler of Ado-Ekiti thanked President Tinubu for his love for the people of Ekiti State manifested in the launch of the Expanded National MSME Clinics and commissioning of a fashion and garment hub for small businesses in the state.

Other dignitaries at the event include the state Deputy Governor, Chief Monisade Afuye, and the Permanent Secretary, State House, Engr Funsho Adebiyi.


*Stanley Nkwocha*

*Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media & Communications*

*(Office of The Vice President)*

*6th June, 2024*