Buhari to address small businesses at 2020 MSMEs awards, entries open

In a bid to encourage small businesses in Nigeria amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari will  address Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The address which would  form part of the 2020 MSMEs award would  hold  July 16,  Mr Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President.

Johnson who addressed a virtual news in Abuja on Friday, said that in spite of the ravaging pandemic and its effects on MEMSe, the awards were going on.

He, however, said that the award was only going to hold virtually, adding that the portal for registration would be open on June 1 and remain open for 30 days.

“The portal for this year’ edition of the award will be open on the 1st of June and it will be open for 30 days.

“Once the portal is open, SMEs across the country can go and nominate themselves in whatever category of their choice.

The award this year would be held on July 16, it would be a unique one because it would be virtual.

“All award recipients and other participants and guests will join the via video from different locations across the country.

“This is in line with the established protocols for COVID-19 containment by the Federal Government the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

According to Johnson,  Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will  be coordinating the virtual awards.

“One unique thing we will be seeing this year is that President Muhammadu Buhari will be delivering a speech targeted at encouraging MSMEs across the nation.

“Interested and qualified MEMEs are to visit www.msmeclinics.gov.ng,” he said.

Johnson added that the attendant car, cash and other prices would also be given during the awards regardless of the fact that it would be virtual.

He said that all prizes would be sent to respective award recipients in their respective locations.

He added that the federal government would also inaugurate a 200,000 capacity Yam Storage facility for MSMEs in Zaki Biam, Benue, as part of measures to support MSMEs in the state.

He said that the yam storage facility was part of the government scheme to establish shared facility to support MSMEs.

“The MSMEs Shared Facility Scheme of the federal government is one of the innovations from the National MSMEs Clinics.

“The vision is to necessary infrastructure and support facilities in clusters across the country.

“So far, the federal government has completed two pilot schemes of the Shared Facility project in Oyo and ,” he said.

According to him, the categories for the awards include: MSME Award of Excellence in Agriculture; MSME Award of Excellence in Beauty, Wellness and cosmetics; MSME Award of Excellence in Fashion & style and MSME Award of Excellence in Creative Art.

Other categories were; MSME Award of Excellence in Leather works; MSME Award of Excellence in Manufacturing; MSME Award of Excellence in Innovation and MSME Award of Excellence in Furniture & Woodwork.

Mr Johnson further disclosed that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), which is a partner in the awards, would be getting the information to all SMEs across the nation.

According to him and other members of the team, SMEDAN will be reaching out to micro enterprises that may not have access to the online portal and assist them with their submissions. (NAN)