The Federal Government has approved a 90-day special timeline for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to register at a discounted rate of N5,000 as part of its efforts to fast-track registration of such enterprises and improving the nation’s Ease of Doing business rating.

Making this disclosure on Tuesday during the opening ceremony of the 19th edition of the National MSMEs Clinics in Enugu, the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, said that the special window became effective on October 1 and would end by the end of the year.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice-President, Laolu Akande, in a statement quoted the Vice President as saying that the arrangement was informed by past experiences in MSME Clinics where a lot of MSMEs were found to be going through cost challenges in their efforts to register businesses.

The VP said: “The practice since we began the MSME Clinics is that most agencies offer price reductions, especially for registration and all other pre-investment approvals during the clinics.

“So, I am pleased to announce that the Federal Government, through the Corporate Affairs Commission, has approved a special window of 90 days from Monday, October 1 to December 31, 2018, to register businesses at a considerably reduced rate of N5,000 only, down from as much as N10,000 previously. This will afford more MSMEs an opportunity to formalise their businesses”, he added.

Expatiating on what the government is doing to consolidate the gains of the MSMEs Clinics, Osinbajo said that the Federal Government “will be establishing shared facilities for MSMEs based on a partnership between the Federal Government, interested states, the Bank of Industry, NEXIM Bank, FIRS, NAFDAC, SON and interested private sector partners, as part of our efforts at deepening the impact of the clinics.

“The purpose of these shared facilities is to have a fully-equipped place with machinery and equipment required for various trades and businesses. The MSMEs can then do their businesses at those locations at a reasonable cost.

“This way, MSMEs are spared the financial burden of having to buy their own equipment in order to be able to do business. Where possible, these shared facilities would have been pre-certified by relevant agencies, removing the need for the MSMEs to pursue these certifications by themselves”, he added.

He promised that the Federal Government was prepared to partner state governments in establishing more one-stop shops to further enhance business registration and facilitate seamless interaction between owners of small businesses and the relevant regulatory agencies nationwide.

In addition, the Vice President said that the Federal Government was not unaware that some states have gone on to set up one-stop shops after the clinics, saying that the one-stop shops bring all the relevant agencies together in one place so as to enable the MSMEs access their services on an ongoing basis.

He assured the Federal Government was already having follow-up plans to “ensure that all the finalists from the maiden edition of the MSME Awards are supported with publicity and media exposure to enable them to reach even larger markets at home and abroad.”

In his address at the event, the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, said that the state government had already keyed into some of the social investment programmes (SIPs) initiated by the Federal Government, adding that the state will continue to cooperate with all federal agencies to improve the well-being of the people.

He commended the Federal Government for the launch of the National MSMEs Clinics in the state, noting that they have the potential of greatly improving the lives of many youths, especially those seeking employment opportunities.