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In line with the commitment of Federal Government (FG) to wean the country of over- dependence on oil by promoting the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs),Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has presented grants of over N4 million to 229 market women in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT). The beneficiaries are members of cooperative groups.

The Vice President made the presentation during the commissioning ceremony of FCT Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) One Stop Shop last Thursday in Abuja. The Vice President, who was represented at the occasion by Minister of Trade, Investment and Industry, Aisha Abubakar, called on small businesses to key into government's many initiatives to promote MSMEs in the country. Earlier, in his welcome address, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, described MSMEs as crucial to job creation, economic empowerment and poverty alleviation among majority of Nigerians. 

He said: "I would like to acknowledge the energy and resources His Excellency, the Vice President has invested in the promotion of MSMEs in the country. His drive and passion bear eloquent testimony to the faith of President Muhammadu Buhari's government in the sub-sector. MSMEs hold the key to job creation, economic recovery empowerment and poverty alleviation for a significant segment of the Nigerian population."

According to the Minister, the One-Stop Shop provides required institutional framework for coordination of execution of the national policy on MSMEs and synergy among all stakeholders, stressing that this will ultimately cascade to the attainment of National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) in the FCT. "As we are all aware, the MSMEs One-Stop Shop is designed to provide sound institutional framework for the coordination of implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs as well as provide linkages and synergy among all stakeholders.

This is with a view to ensuring the effective execution of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) in the FCT, among others,'' he explained. Dwelling on the efforts the Administration is making to promote MSMEs in the Territory, the Minister, who was represented on the occasion by FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, disclosed that already plans are in top gear to strengthen the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) to perform its role as the arrowhead of the Administration's MSME policies and programmes. 

Also speaking during the commissioning, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, AEA, Malam Tukur Arabi revealed that so far the agency has created 12,517 jobs and supported over 15,000 MSMEs in terms of providing business support services and access to finance. Arabi further disclosed that the agency has sensitized over 8, 500 businesses on regulatory issues, government support programmes and projects
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By: Ifeyinwa Amulu