MSME conference: Ayade hosts Osinbajo, Emmanuel, El-Rufai in Calabar

IN his commitment to help small businesses access capital and create jobs, the Cross River State governor, Sen Ben Ayade, will host Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and Governor Nasir el- Rufai of Kaduna State as special guests at the maiden edition of the International MSME Expedition (IME).

The event, tagged TINAPA MSME 2016, will take place in the Cross Rivers State capital between August 5 and 6, 2016 and will feature discussions that border on lending for SME, a capacity building conference where initiatives to shore up lending for small businesses will be addressed.

According to the National Coordinator, International MSME Expedition (IME), Mr Godfrey Sunday, using the model of the Calabar carnival, which draws millions of people to Cross Rivers State every year, the event which is the first of its kind for SMEs will also attract over 5000 people to Cross Rivers State yearly to what will soon be known as the MSME festival in Nigeria.”Small businesses are the backbone of any economy,” he said.

He added that “Unfortunately, they are also the ones most hit during any economic meltdown, which is why in addition to ensuring international networking and partnerships opportunities for the MSMEs, this conference will solve the myriads of problems faced by MSMEs as a result of capacity deficiency, lack of access to finance and unfriendly business environment in the continent, and will effectively promote international training for SMEs using the state of art facilities at the international convention centre at Tinapa.”

Sunday noted further that in his attempt to help small businesses access funds, Governor Ayade, had joined the efforts of the World Bank and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the development of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria within the next five years.

Recall that the CBN launched the MSME Development Fund on August 15, 2013 with a share capital of N220 billion. The Fund was established in recognition of the significant contributions of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub-sector to the economy and the existing huge financing gap.

Highlights of the event will be the launch of a N500 billion MSME impact bond and the constitution of the team that will ensure proper disbursement of it to deserving MSMEs.