Yemi Osinbajo, vice president, has stated that the persistent drive, enthusiasm, and inventiveness of young Nigerians are the country’s best hope for prosperity and the provision of jobs and opportunity for the millions of young people who enter the labor force each year.
This was said by Osinbajo on Monday night at the State House Old Banquet Hall in Abuja during the fifth national Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) awards banquet.
Praising the zeal, 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 reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to helping small enterprises by creating an environment that is conducive to their success.
Osinbajo revealed plans for the creation of MSME shared facility projects, including the Kaduna State center for tomato paste production and the renovated Adire market in Ogun State.
“Other facilities are now being established in Gombe, Bauchi, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Delta, Nasarawa, Ekiti, Abia and Kano States,” he added.
The Vice President then praised some of the winners in particular.
His said: “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 claimed that by increasing the value of awards given to winners from a starting one-star reward car in 2018 for the MSME of the Year winner to 10 automobiles in all categories in 2022, the relationship between the federal government and the private sector has significantly improved over time.
The peak 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.