Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria has what it takes to manufacture its own weapons, vehicles, clean energy trucks and cars, among others.
Osinbajo made this submission in his special address at the 5th National Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Awards on Monday in Abuja.
The awards were given in 10 categories with a prize of N1 million and a car per winner.
The categories were Awards of Excellence in Agriculture; Fashion and Style; Creative Art; Manufacturing; Technology and Innovation; Furniture and Woodworks.
Others were outstanding MSMEs Clinics Award, Award of Excellence in Beauty and Wellness, MSME of the Year Award and Award of Excellence in Leather Works.
More so, Best MSME State in Agriculture was won by Edo, Best MSME State in Fashion won by Imo, Best MSME State in Innovation, Borno and Best MSME State in Policy Support, Ogun.
The vice president said that since its inauguration in 2018, the National MSME Awards had grown in leaps and bounds attracting over 17, 000 entries in 2022.
“It has become a prominent feature in the annual event calendar of the MSME community in Nigeria, attracting thousands of prospective business owners, established entrepreneurs, regulators and financiers.
“The award applications have jumped from the 500 in 2018, to over 17,000 entries this year. Clearly, the interest shown in the awards by Nigerian entrepreneurs has been tremendous.
“In the past years, winners in the different categories have gone home with various prizes that have impacted their businesses and profiles – cash prizes, cars, and of course local and international media attention.
“The reward for the awards has also increased from an initial humble beginning of one star prize car in 2018 for the MSME of the Year winner to 10 cars in all categories this year.
“This is to underscore the significant improvement that has been built between the private sector and the Federal Government over the years.”
Osinbajo said that the awards also inspired many young entrepreneurs to greatness while some of the stories were simply incredible.
He said it was worthwhile to mention and congratulate the 2022 winners.
“They are, Peaklori Production Limited from Delta State, winner of the award for Excellence in Agriculture; Nature’s Organic Secret from Niger, who won the NAFDAC/SMEDAN award of Excellence in Beauty and Cosmetics.
“Abeni Prints from Oyo State, winner of the NEPC award for Excellence in Creative Arts; Famkapparel from Lagos State, who is taking home the FIRS award for Excellence in Fashion and Style.
“Tanko Furniture from Sokoto State, winner of the award for ITF Excellence in Furniture and Woodwork; JMOFS Enterprises from Plateau State, who won the RMRDC/DBN award in leather works and Negs Empire from Imo State, winner of the NEXIM Bank MSME Clinic participant of the year.”
The vice president said that the MSMEs told the story of Nigeria’s great economic future.
He said that Nigeria had all it required for manufacturing a wide range of products locally.
“We are set to manufacture our own vehicles, clean energy trucks and cars, and we are on course to manufacturing our own weapons, armoured mobile platforms and aircrafts; we have all it takes.
“But I believe that MSME in technology and manufacturing, especially in the clean energy or green economy, deserves 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.”
Osinbajo acknowledged the ingenuity of some of the innovators as they defined the future in terms of clean energy automobiles and precision engineering.
He mentioned 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 Limited–the winner of the NITDA award 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.
Osinbajo also congratulated the governors of Edo, Imo, Ogun and Borno states, who picked up outstanding awards in various categories in the MSME space.
Earlier, Mr Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to the President on MSME and National Coordinator, MSME Clinics, said awards were birthed in 2018 when President Muhammadu Buhari sought for a reward scheme for MSMEs.
He said that the president’s request was borne out of his satisfaction with the MSME Clinics.
On her part, Hajia Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, commended the organisers of the award for being focused and steadfast over the years.
She added that the COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity for new frontiers and expanded the MSME space.