In a bid to encourage small businesses in Nigeria amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari will address Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
The address, which would form part of the 2020 MSMEs award, would hold July 16, said Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Office of the Vice President.
Johnson, who addressed a virtual news conference in Abuja on Friday, said in spite of the ravaging pandemic and its effects on MSMEs, the awards were still going on.
He, however, said 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.
He said: “The portal for this year’s 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 event via video conference from different locations across the country.
“This is in line with the established protocols for COVID-19 containment by the Federal Government through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”
According to Johnson, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be coordinating the virtual awards.
He said: “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.”
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 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 State as part of measures to support MSMEs in the state.
He said the yam storage facility was part of the government scheme to establish shared facility to support MSMEs.
Johnson said: “The MSMEs Shared Facility Scheme of the Federal Government is one of the innovations from the National MSMEs Clinics.
“The vision is to provide necessary infrastructure and support facilities in production clusters across the country.
“So far, the Federal Government has completed two pilot schemes of the Shared Facility project in Oyo and Bauchi.”
According to Johnson, 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 and style; and MSME Award of Excellence in Creative Art.
Other categories are MSME Award of Excellence in Leather works; MSME Award of Excellence in Manufacturing; MSME Award of Excellence in Technology Innovation; and MSME Award of Excellence in Furniture & Woodwork.
Johnson further disclosed that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, 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.