By Chijioke Okoronkwo
The presidency says portal for the 4th National Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Award will open from May 10.
Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to the President on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Office of the Vice President made this known on Friday in Abuja.
Johnson, who is also the Coordinator, Project Delivery Office (PDO), briefed newsmen on the fourth National MSMEs Award slated for June 27.
He said that MSMEs interested in the 2021 Awards should visit the website www.msmeclinics.gov.ng from May 10.
President Muhammadu Buhari, through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo moved to empower and reward MSMEs across the country, which gave birth to National MSME Clinics in 2017.
Some offshoots of the clinics include the MSMEs One-Stop Shop, the Shared Facility Initiative and the MSMEs Awards conceived in 2018.
According to Johnson, a few things will be done differently in the forthcoming awards.
“One of the very important things to quickly say is that this year, the award’s site or portal has moved to www.msmeclinics.gov.ng.
“In the past, we used to have msmeclinics.gov.com but now moved to a safer site; so, we will be expecting a lot more people on this site.
“This year, also, the portal will be opened from May 10 and it will open for three weeks to run all through to May 31.
“The categories are the same but there is a certain category that was reviewed based on input or suggestion from one of our partners National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
“ The category in question has been changed to Tech and Innovation Driven Enterprise; it used to be just Innovation Category.’’
He listed other categories as agriculture, beauty, wellness and cosmetics, creative arts, fashion and style, furniture and woodwork and manufacturing.
Johnson said there were other special categories as the “Best MSMEs Supporting State’’.
He said the date for the fourth MSME Award coincided with the UN Day for MSME; adding that there would also be fashion exhibition.
“One other thing that is worthy of mention is that this year, we are going to have on this week of the MSMEs award, which is on June 27.
“We are doing it exactly same day at the UN World MSME Day.
“So, this will be Nigeria’s answer to marking that day; to give MSMEs who are thriving in that space some sort of rewards and recognition.
“More so, we are going to having a fashion and arts exhibition on June 25; it is a first of its kind; we are expecting a lot of Nigerian brands from across the country; it is strictly made in Nigeria exhibition, ‘’ he said.
He said it there would be a full week of different activities across the country to mark the world MSMEs Day.
Johnson said there would also be a national discourse on the MSMEs space – the plight of the MSMEs in Nigeria that would involve a lot of the financial partner from the private sector and public sector.
He said that the initiative had been impactful going by the number of businesses that had benefitted from it.
On his part, Mr Monday Ewans, the Director, Enterprise Development and Promotion, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) said the agency had been part of the awards from the origin.
He said that SMEDAN valued the awards because such incentives helped growth of MSMEs that were doing very well in the sector.
“So, it is to encourage them to do more; to contribute to national growth and development; to contribute to job creation; wealth creation and poverty alleviation.
“ Of course, these awards are meant to target certain sectors that are key to driving the growth in the MSMEs sub-sector.
“We are encouraging all MSMEs that have special skills; that have special knowledge in these areas to come and apply for this because that is government’s way of appreciating the enterprises for helping to grow the economy,’’ he said. (NAN)