The Federal Government plans to launch a series of one-stop shops across the country to facilitate smoother government regulation and interface between entrepreneurs and agencies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and others.
The One-Stop Shop programme is part of the on-going nationwide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Clinics for Viable Enterprises (MSME Clinics) initiated by the Presidency in January 2017, aimed at providing a platform for convenient and easy interactions between regulatory agencies and MSMEs doing business in Nigeria.
The MSMEs Clinics, one of the diversification initiatives of the Buhari administration is designed to give small businesses the opportunity to meet with the industry regulators, to talk to them, and to hear their problems in efforts to spur local production, and harness the nation’s export potential in the process.
This, according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, is in fulfillment of the administration’s mandate to spur Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
Already, the first One-Stop Shop was launched recently in Jos, and would be housed by the Plateau State Micro-Finance Development Agency (PLASMEDA).While the MSMEs clinics already existing in many states provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs and local producers in the MSME level to interact with regulatory agencies, the One-Stop Shops create an opportunity in a permanent location to achieve the same purpose.
The states that are next in line include Abia, Cross River, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, Kano, Benue and the FCT. While the launch of these shops is slated for September and October, more are expected to be launched in other states before the end of the year.
The agencies to be housed in the One-Stop Shops include the Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), CAC, FIRS, SON, NAFDAC, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), and Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
It will also be a one-stop destination housing representatives of key government agencies under one roof where members of the public, entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs, can visit to engage with these agencies, make enquiries, report complaints and receive information that can boost their business plans and ideas.
The statement said at the launch of the Katsina State’s MSMEs Clinic in Katsina in May, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had noted that the MSMEs clinics were the Buhari administration’s effort to bridge the gap between MSMEs and relevant regulatory agencies, like NAFDAC, CAC, BOI, FIRS and others. This is to ensure that those agencies become facilitators of businesses, not obstacles to business development.
“The evidence is that over the years government and its agencies are seen more as an obstacle, a hindrance rather than a facilitator, and this is across all arms of government; the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. We have talked extensively about the executive and about the problems that people have interacting with the executive agencies but so it is with the Judiciary as well,” he said.
Similarly, the Vice President had urged public servants to imbibe the administration’s culture of transparency and accountability in discharging their respective duties, especially regarding the creation of an enabling business environment.
“Every time that a public servant is an obstacle to anyone seeking approvals or licenses, he or she attacks the Nigerian economy and its future. Our individual and collective vision or objective as civil or public servants must be advancing the social and economic prosperity of Nigeria,” he added.