Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said the relentless drive, energy and creativity of young Nigerians, are the guarantee that the country will prosper and provide jobs and opportunities for millions of youths coming into the job market yearly.
Osinbajo stated this on Monday evening at the fifth national Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) awards dinner at the State House Old Banquet Hall in Abuja.
Praising the steadfastness and contributions of young entrepreneurs that won prizes at the event, the Vice President in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, said: “These MSMEs tell the story of our country’s great economic future.”
He said: “We are set to manufacture our own vehicles, clean energy trucks and cars, and we are on course to manufacture our own weapons, armoured mobile platforms and aircraft. We have all it takes.”
Making specific reference to prospects in the manufacturing and technology sectors, the Osinbajo said: “I believe that MSMEs in technology and manufacturing especially in the clean energy or green economy deserve special mention. I am convinced that this sector will be crucial in global industrial development in the coming years and will leapfrog Nigeria to economic prosperity.”
The Vice President reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to supporting small businesses by providing the enabling environment for them to thrive.
Osinbajo announced arrangements for the establishment of MSME shared facility projects comprising the Kaduna State tomato paste production hub and the Ogun State refurbished Adire market.
“Other facilities are now being established in Gombe, Bauchi, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Delta, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Abia and Kano States,” he added.
The Vice President then commended some of the winners in particular.
His words: “The first is Thinkbikes Limited, the winner of the BOI Award for Excellence in Manufacturing founded by Tolulope Olukokun, which produces solar and battery-run bikes that can go up to 50 kilometres on a single charge.
“The second is Phoenix Renewables Ltd, the winner of the NITDA Award for Excellence in Innovation, founded by Mustapha Abubakar Gajibo. The company designs and builds electric and solar-powered cars, tricycles and also vehicle and engine parts.
“The vehicles are now deployed for public transportation in the Maiduguri metropolis. By April they had conveyed over 21,000 passengers. I had the singular pleasure of driving one of the electric cars when I visited the Phoenix Renewables stand at the Borno MSME Clinic.
“The third is the Clintonel Advanced Engineering Centre, Access Bank MSME of the Year Award winner, founded by Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke. The company builds high precision parts, moulds, medical equipment, and auto engine parts.”
He said that the improvement in the value of prizes given to award winners from an initial one star prize car in 2018 for the MSME of the Year winner to 10 cars in all categories in 2022 is to underscore the significant improvement that has been built between the private sector and the Federal Government over the years.
The high point of the event was the presentation of prizes to winners in the various categories including deserving States such as Edo for best State in shared facility; Imo for best state in Fashion; Borno for emerging state in Innovation and Ogun for best State in MSME policy.