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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government will diversify and scale up medium and small enterprises (MSSEs) in the country to produce needed raw materials for the nation's industries in order to reduce pressure on the scarce foreign exchange.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government will diversify and scale up medium and small enterprises (MSSEs) in the country to produce needed raw materials for the nation's industries in order to reduce pressure on the scarce foreign exchange.


Osinbajo, who was explaining the economic policy direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration at a manufacturers' forum in Lagos, said:” Our economic policy direction is very clear, we know what it is that we intend to emphasize. Every one of us knows that oil and gas sector is our main revenue earner. But oil and gas revenue have dipped. We know that we must diversify our economy. We are committed to that diversification.”
On ways of achieving the diversification, the vice president said: “Agriculture is critical to that diversification effort and when we say agriculture, how do we intend to proceed? We are going to look at certain critical areas, for example rice. “We think that some work has been done on rice production but we now strongly believe that if we are able in the next two years or so or three years, we can actually become self-reliant or self-sufficient in rice production. So we are working with seven states that are, if you like, rice producing states. And we believe that we must focus our attention on those states in helping them, by providing infrastructure, providing whatever components that is required down that value chain silos, milling facilities. Already many of those states have silos but we can further encourage them…
“Agriculture is very important in our efforts at diversification of the economy. We also believe that putting funding to MSMEs is very important. If you look at a lot of the effort all through the past ten years, you find that there has always been focus on MSME but the problem has always been that of scale, not the problem of execution but scale. It's okay to initiate a YOUWIN programme with a couple of thousand people. But how can that affect the lives or the economy of a country of 170 million people? So you have a good idea but how do you scale it up? “We identified Small and Medium Scale including the market women. So one of the critical issues that we are reviewing now is how to ensure that we're able to invest in the market women, give them funding through their Cooperative Associations across the country, give them funding which will enable them to improve their capacities, and then also training, capacity building, financial planning. Capacity building planning just helps them because, you see, this is a country of traders and merchants. “You must recognize that even in our definition of what is MSME you must not forget that that is a very critical sub-sector and you can do scale-up in that sector. You already have established structures for doing so. Then of course we are trying to create the windows for opportunities for Small and Medium Scale people  the artisans and the rest of them. So that's going to be a critical aspect  the Small and Medium Scale area for purposes of diversification of the economy.”

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