FG, Govs To Meet On Minimum Wage Today

The Economic Management Team, and state governors will be meeting today, Monday, to harmonize the new minimum wage, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige told state house correspondents on Friday after consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo at the Aso Rock Villa.

Dr Ngige expressed optimism that the meeting would come up useful outcomes before the submission of the report of the Tripartite committee on the new wage.

He said there was no cause for worry by the Labour Congress over the draft white paper on industrial harmony approved by government.

Labour unions had proposed on N30,000, the private sector, the federal government and state governments proposed N25,000, N24,000 and N20,000 respectively.

The minimum wage currently stands at N18, 000

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National School Feeding Programme To Become Africa’s Largest By End Of 2018, Says Osinbajo

By the end of 2018, with the number of new States in the country joining the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, it is set to become the largest school-feeding programme in Africa, says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

He stated this in Tunisia, where he delivered a keynote address at the closing ceremony of the 20th Annual Global Child Nutrition Forum held at Four Seasons hotel in Tunis, stating that the programme “has been by all accounts, a remarkable success.”

Speaking on the philosophy underlying the Programme, Prof Osinbajo told the 353 delegates from 9 countries, which include experts in the nutrition industry, United Nations officials from World Food Programme, Global Child Nutrition Fund, the World Bank and stakeholders that “Nigeria took the decision to embark on a school feeding programme as an important part of our human capital development agenda, by tackling the broader issues of eradication of poverty, food and nutrition security, and increasing school enrollment.”

He added, “it is becoming clearer that the 21st Century will be defined by knowledge and skills. The nations that are best able to present the most knowledgeable and most skilful citizens will prevail in commerce, in science and technology and of course, will enjoy the greatest prosperity and the longevity to enjoy the prosperity. Nations that do not invest enough to produce the required level of talent and skills will be left behind. A farther distance than ever before in the history of mankind.”

Emphasizing on the importance of the school-feeding programme, he posited that “For developing countries such as ours and of course many African countries, by far the greatest challenge for us in the next three decades is that of effective investment in the health and education of our population. Nutrition is key to both, to enable children usefully participate, learn and develop mentally and physically to be able to compete in an increasingly competitive global environment.”

“By 2035, Africa will have 1.2billion people. Over 50% of that number will be young persons under the age of 25. Today, 60 per cent of the unemployed in Africa are young people”, he observed.

Expatiating on the scope and cost of the Programme, Prof. Osinbajo said “at a cost of $0.19 per child per day, we are able to provide a balanced meal for every one of the children. 9,300,892 million pupils in 49,837 public primary schools in 26 states across Nigeria benefit daily.”

According to him, “at current numbers, the programme costs $1,767,169.48 per day and over $183million has been invested so far in the programme. The programme employs 95,422 cooks, and over 100,000 smallholder farmers linked to the programme, supplying locally sourced ingredients. This translates to 594 cattle, 138,000 chickens, 6.8 million eggs, 83 metric tons of fish that are procured, prepared, and distributed each week. As you can imagine, the quantity of starch and vegetables required for this program on a weekly basis is equally impressive”.

The Vice President highlighted the physical and health benefits to children currently being impacted, he stated that “energy and nutrients with established links to cognition- carbohydrates, protein, fat, iron and iodine as well as minerals with public health importance, are targeted by the NHGSF”, adding that “the program aims to provide 50% of the recommended nutrient intake targets for protein and prioritized micronutrients (iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin A, folate and vitamin C and 30% of energy because of the high burden of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in Nigeria.”

Other benefits achieved under the programme include a ready market and a sustainable income for our farmers, as well as improved livelihoods for cooks with access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs. “Financial inclusion is a key enabler to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity”.

“Moreover, with the capturing of their biometrics and the opening of bank accounts as a prerequisite to their participation in the programme, we are ramping up on our country’s needs for identification, planning and social inclusion efficiencies in Nigeria.”

He told the audience that the success of the programme in a short time is due to factors such as unequivocal political will, transparency and accountability, good value for all participants in the value chain, multi-sectoral coordination and strategic partnership with international donors such as Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and Partnership For Child Development, Imperial College.

Prof Osinbajo earlier commended the Global Child Nutrition Forum and World Food Programme, for providing such an excellent opportunity for the global school feeding community to come together to share ideas, learn from and inspire each other.

Present at the occasion were Hatem Ben Salem, Minister of Education, Republic of Tunisia; Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition Fund; Don Burdy, Specialist at World Food Programme/World Bank; Daniel Balaban, Director of Centre of Excellence Against Hunger in Brazil and other regional representatives of WEF and GCNF, international donors as well as other participants.

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Vice President Osinbajo To Share Nigeria’s School Feeding Success In Tunis

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been asked to deliver a keynote message at the ongoing Global Child Nutrition Forum in Tunis, capital of Tunisia on Thursday.

Prof Osinbajo will speak on the successes of National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP, which was introduced by the Buhari administration.

Nigeria was specifically invited to share its experience because it has the biggest public education school feeding programme in Africa.

The School Feeding Programme presently feeds 9.2 million primary pupils across 26 States in Nigeria, the largest school feeding programme in Africa.

The NHGSFP is one of the schemes under the National Social Investment Programmes designed to reduce poverty and out-of-school children in Nigeria.

The NHGSF programme is part of a 500 billion naira funded Social Investment Programme announced by the Buhari administration to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children and other vulnerable groups.

The Federal Government of Nigeria sees NHGSFP as a priority in its Economic Recovery Growth Plan and its commitment to invest in human capital.

According to statistics, 60 per cent of drop outs were in Primary 1 – 3 so it was important for the FG to streamline focus on first feeding pupils in primary school.

VP Osinbajo will be accompanied by senior officials of the government.

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Vice President Osinbajo Launches Trader Moni, Holds Msmes Clinic In Bauchi

The focus of the Buhari administration, from the outset, was to empower young people, and ensure that the resources of the country are used for the benefit of all Nigerians instead of a few individuals, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

The Vice President stated this today at the launch of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Clinics in Bauchi.

According to him, “Our focus from the beginning of the administration is that there must be jobs, enough resources for young men and women to be able to do their work and to contribute their quota to Nigeria’s growth.

“That is why the President started the N-Power programme, the Market Moni programme and TraderMoni; that is the reason why the President said that we must have Home-Grown School Feeding programme, to provide opportunities for people.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to Nigeria is that he will not steal Nigeria’s resources, he will use Nigeria’s money for the benefit of Nigerians, that is the pledge he made the day he became President and he has maintained that pledge till now. The determination of our government is to see to it that Nigeria’s resources are used for the benefit of Nigerians.”

Prof. Osinbajo who spoke about several efforts made by the present administration to improve the lot of the people despite earning less said, ” this country can afford to provide for our people that is why we are determined and committed by making sure that we provide for our people everywhere they are, especially the young men and women.”

He said: “For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we are spending 30% of our income on infrastructure. That is why we are able to build the Lagos-Kano railway, the Mambila Hydro project and all of the several roads that we have started building.

“We are spending Nigeria’s money in the right places and we make sure that nobody steals Nigeria’s money.”

He enjoined the people of the state to be committed to the objectives of the Federal Government, which according to him, “is to make sure that we give our people the best possible.”

Aside from the launch of MSMEs clinics, the Vice President also launched the Trader Moni Scheme (the collateral and Interest-free loan scheme for petty traders in Bauchi) and also commissioned the One-Stop Shop for MSMEs in Bauchi and environs.

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Vice President Osinbajo Visits Areas Affected By Floods In Rivers, Bayelsa

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has visited some of the communities affected by floods in Rivers and Bayelsa states.

Professor Osinbajo, who made the visit on Friday, also condoled with the victims of the floods in both states in Nigeria’s southern region.

Addressing those displaced by the floods in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers where over 71 communities have been submerged, he promised to resettle the residents back to their various homes.

He said, “The Federal Government will give all the support and all the succour that is necessary to ensure not only that you are as comfortable as possible in the circumstances here, but more importantly that you are resettled properly when in the next few weeks, by the grace of God, you are able to go back home.”

The Vice President added that the Federal Government would work with the state government to restore their livelihoods in a few weeks.

He equally assured the flood victims of immediate intervention and long-term strategies to forestall any reoccurrence of the incident.

Professor Osinbajo also visited the camp of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Igbogene area of Bayelsa State.

He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration would not leave the displaced persons to their plights, stressing that the government has a responsibility to take care of the people’s welfare.

The Vice President said, “On behalf of President Muhammdu Buhari, we will stand by you and whatever you need we will provide.”

“It is our duty as government to ensure that we take care of the people,” he added.

“That’s why I am here to see first-hand what is going on so that we will understand the type and quality of response to take further.”

Professor Osinbajo also met with a woman who put to bed recently at the camp.

Vice President Osinbajo was received in Yenagoa, the state capital by Governor Seriake Dickson and top government officials in Bayelsa.

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Eradication Of Polio Is A Debt We Owe Nigerians Says Osinbajo

The Abuja Commitment made by the Federal and State governments to provide active leadership of polio eradication activities, including routine immunization, is a debt owed to Nigerians according to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

Prof Osinbajo made these remarks at the 92nd edition of the National Economic Council Meeting. According to him, “The Abuja Commitment is a promise we all made; it is now a debt that we owe to the Nigerian people.  We must individually and collectively work to achieve the Abuja commitment indicators.”

Prof Osinbajo said the Federal Government remains resolutely committed to the crucial cause of polio eradication in the country while addressing the State Governors and members of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication who were present at the meeting.

He thanked the Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the remarkable progress that has been made in the polio programme. He also commended them for ensuring that the country has not recorded any new case of the wild polio virus in the last two years, encouraging them to sustain the tempo.

The Vice President commended the supportive efforts of the Nigerian military, stating, “Our military will continue to collaborate with you to provide security and support as you ensure that all eligible children in every part of the country are reached with the polio vaccine and other health and humanitarian interventions.”

He added that there would be need to collaborate with our neighbours such as the Niger Republic and Lake Chad Islands.

He urged the governors to collaborate closely with the Federal Government especially in the timely provision of funds, rigorous oversight, and other support that would fast-track on-going efforts to totally eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization.

The Vice President commiserated with all the families of health workers who lost their lives in the course of delivering services to humanity, in particular, the families of Saifura Husain Ahmed Khorsa and Hauwa Liman who were kidnapped and killed by Boko Haram. He prayed that God would give their families the fortitude to bear the great losses. He also extended his sincere condolence to the ICRC, whose staff the two courageous and committed ladies belonged.

In his own remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, told the Council that the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre has been driving innovation strategies to improve routine immunization since its establishment in July 2017.

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Other Vice Presidents Should Emulate Osinbajo’s Good Model – President Weah

President George Weah of Liberia has showered praises on Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo describing him as good role model for other Vice Presidents to follow.

Prof Osinbajo who is in Liberia to speak on leadership and women empowerment at the International SHEROES Forum paid a courtesy call on President Weah in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia on Wednesday.

Mr Weah who spoke glowingly of Osinbajo said Africa needs more leaders like him, given his brilliance and loyalty, particularly during his stints as acting President of Nigeria.

“You kept your country together in peace while President Muhammadu Buhari was away. That is a good model for other vice presidents to follow,” President Weah said.

But President Weah was not alone in praising the good works and integrity of Prof Osinbajo.

Also commenting on Osinbajo’s giant strides at the SHEROES forum, keynote speaker Joyce Banda, who is the former President of Malawi said she was perplexed while listening to VP Osinbajo’s speech.

“When I heard you speak (as VP in Nigeria) I asked who is he? They said he is a pastor. I was grateful because what we really need in State houses in Africa are God-fearing men.”

Banda also echoed the sentiments of President Weah urging more African leaders to follow the footsteps of Nigeria’s Vice President.

While in Liberia, Prof Osinbajo participated in the formal launch of the Jewel Starfish Foundation.

The foundation is an organisation founded by the Vice President of Liberia, Jewel Howard Taylor, to provide educational opportunities to women and empower young women with capacity building tools that would enable them to achieve sustainable means of livelihood.

It also aims to inspire and provide mentoring for women, among other numerous objectives.

Other distinguished personalities at the event include former Liberian President, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is the keynote speaker; former Vice President of Zimbabwe, Dr Joyce Mujuru, among other personalities.

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Vice President Osinbajo To Highlight Nigeria’s Investment In Human Capital At Oxford Today

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), will on Friday (today) deliver a special lecture on Nigeria’s investments in human capital development at the Oxford University, United Kingdom.

A statement by the Office of the Vice President said Professor Osinbajo was invited by the Oxford University to deliver the lecture “highlighting ongoing investments, efforts and plans of the Nigerian government on human development at the globally recognised institution.”

The statement further reads:“At the event, Professor Osinbajo will also be inaugurating the International Advisory Board (IAB) of Oxford University’s African Studies Centre, under the School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA).

“Members of the board are eminent leaders from across the world including several African countries like Nigeria and South Africa.”

The members of the board to be inaugurated include; An international advisor of Goldman Sachs, Mr Tito Mboweni and former Chairman of the South African Reserve Bank, who will chair the board; First Lady of Namibia, Madame Monica Geingos; Lawyer and entrepreneur, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, former UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, one-time Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former Nigeria’s External Affairs Minister and Dr Charlotte Scott, former First Lady of Zambia and development specialist.

“Others are the Chairman of Pick’n’Pay, South Africa, Mr Gareth Ackerman; Mr. Alex Duncan, Director and Consultant Economist, The Policy Practice, Brighton, United Kingdom; Economist and author, Accra, Ghana, Mr Ivor Agyeman-Duah; Governor Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria and Ms. Linda Mabhena-Olagunju, founder and Managing Director, DLO Energy Group (Pty) Ltd, South Africa.

The statement said the vice President would depart Nigeria on Thursday for London and would be received by Oxford’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Warden, St. Antony’s College, Professor Roger Goodman; Head, Oxford School of Global & Area Studies, Tim Powers and the Director of the African Studies Center, Professor Wale Adebanwi.

“During the lecture, Professor Osinbajo would highlight the progress made by the Buhari administration in improving Nigeria’s Human Capital development indices and investment climate, as well as the widespread impact of the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP).

“The N-Power Volunteer Corps, which is a part of the N-SIP, and has so far provided employment for 500,000 young Nigerian graduates, demonstrates the commitment of the Federal Government to invest in the human capital development of Nigerian citizens, particularly the young people. Also, the N-SIP includes schemes such as the Conditional Cash Transfer, which has helped lift thousands of the poorest Nigerians out of poverty, through the provision of N5,000 monthly stipends; the TraderMoni, which provides collateral & interest-free loans from N10,000 to petty traders nationwide, among other initiatives of the Buhari administration,”the statement reads.

Besides, there is also the Homegrown School Feeding programme which provides one free meal a day to over 9 million primary school pupils, thereby boosting school enrichment and also addressing stunting concerns among young Nigerians of school age.

Last week Wednesday, Professor Osinbajo presided over a meeting of the National Economic Council’s Human Capital Development Core Working Group at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where reiterated Buhari administration’s commitment to accelerate human capital development.

Professor Osinbajo said; ”lifting our people out of poverty is a crucial agenda towards attaining intended developmental outcomes.”

He is expected back in Abuja on Sunday.

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Osinbajo: 300,000 Market Women Benefited From N15.183bn Interest-free Loans

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had given N15.183 billion interest-free loans to low income earners, including market women, artisans and farmers across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Osinbajo disclosed this yesterday at the quarterly meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, in Abuja.

The vice-president, who is the PEBEC Chairman, also said with the huge difference made by various initiatives of the government, spending whopping N1 trillion on the poor masses of the country would transform the lives of countless number of Nigerians.

Osinbajo said the loan disbursement was one of the initiatives conceived by the federal government with a view to expanding the frontiers of micro-credit provisions to small businesses under the Government Empowerment and Enterprise Programme (GEEP) of the Social Investment Programme.

According to him, Trader Moni programme of the federal government is one of the most important platforms for the expansion of the micro-credit disbursement to the smallest level of trading.

Describing this category of beneficiaries as the largest part of the country’s working population, Osinbajo argued that such traders are important and integral part of “the value chain of most goods,” adding that as many as 2 million persons will benefit from the scheme.

He said, “For the small businesses also we expanded the micro credit to small businesses under our Government Empowerment & Enterprise Programme (GEEP): N15.183 billion in interest-free loans ranging from N50,000 to N350,000 have been disbursed to more than 300,000 market women, traders, artisans, farmers across all 36 States of the country and the FCT. (By the way, 56% of the loans have gone to women).

“But I think the Trader Moni programme is one of the most crucial components of expanding opportunity for millions of Nigerian traders by giving micro- credit to the bottom of the trading pyramid.

“The smallest businesses; the one table trader; the bread or plantain seller or the Mai Shai. This is the largest segment of our working population; their inventory is no more than N5,000 – N10,000. But they are an important part of the value chain of most goods.
“They sell the single sachets of soap, sugar, and spices to the largest numbers of our people. But they are forgotten and ignored in economic plans and budgets, and considered too unwieldy and risky for micro credit loans. Under the Trader Moni scheme, we are giving microcredit to two million petty traders across the country,” he said.

Osinbajo who disclosed that the government had only spent half of the N500 billion budgeted for Social Investment Programme, observed that with just half of the budget spent, the impacts are laudable, wondering the volume of impact that can be made if more is spent.

According to the vice-president, if only the government could spend whooping N1 trillion to provide succour for the teeming masses of Nigeria, the output will be alarming, adding that once unemployment problem is resolved, investment is made in infrastructure and power problem addressed, massive breakthroughs will be experienced in the country.

“I am convinced that we can crack the jobs problem. And we are in the right direction. First, by Investment in infrastructure, solving the power problem, and generally enhancing the business environment.

“Also Government intervention can be improved. Today of the N500 billion for SIP we have only spent just over N250 billion. And the results are obvious. Imagine how farther we can go with more revenue? If we can spend N1 trillion to bail out poor people in one year, we will make a massive difference,” he stated.

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Vice President Osinbajo Restates Govt Commitment To Job Creation

Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has said that job creation is the priority of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Osinbajo stated this at the 9th presidential quarterly business forum in Abuja on Monday.

According to him, the federal government is committed to ensuring that small and medium scale enterprises are properly serviced.

He also noted that the best way of creating jobs is to make the business environment attractive to the private sector.

The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige explained that his ministry is exploring ways that could provide policies for the creation of jobs.

Giving an update on the economy, the minister of budget and national planning, Udoma Udoma, noted that the country’s economy is in a much better position than it was in 2015.

The presidential quarterly business forum was attended by relevant ministers, members of the economic management team and key players in the private sector.

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Don’t Drag Osinbajo Into Ogun Politics, Group Tells Anisulowo

In the wake of the political drama unfolding in Ogun state, a political group has warned Senator Iyabo Anisulowo and other politicians against dragging Vice President Yemi Osinbajo into the ongoing political situation.

The Initiative to Save Democracy (ISD) noted that although the Vice President is an indigene of Ikenne in Ogun state, he has never meddled in the politics of Ogun or influenced the outcome of electoral or political processes in the state.

In a statement issued in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun state, the President of the group James Akinloye pointed out that politics is local and what is happening in Ogun is beyond the Vice President.

He explained that the emergence of Prince Dapo Abiodun and Adekunle Akinlade as governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress in parallel primaries have nothing to do with the VP.

“Prof Osinbajo knows nothing about the zoning to Ogun East or Ogun West and has never campaigned or urged voters to support any of the candidates,” Akinloye said.

“We all know that the Vice President resides and votes in Lagos state even though he is an indigene of Ogun. To the best of our knowledge, he has never mingled in Ogun politics and has nothing to do with what is going on.

Akinloye pointed that the party (APC) oversaw the primaries and had the National Working Committee posted to states across the country.

“To drag the Vice President into this is completely unfair. Senator Anisulowo is only whipping up sentiments where there is none.”

“The APC NWC was charged with conducting the primaries in Ogun state and other states across the country and they should be held responsible if the election is not free or fair.

“Calling out Prof. Osinbajo because he is from Ogun is completely petty and unbecoming,” Akinloye stated.

He added that in other States where two candidates emerged the name of the Vice President was not mentioned.

The group cautioned the former Minister of State for Education against promoting violence and hatred in the state.

“She and other aggrieved persons should take their matter to the APC, that is where a solution can be proffered. The Vice President will not join issues with politicians but as observers we will tell the truth.”

“Vice President Osinbajo is a man of integrity and a man that is widely respected. He should not be dragged into Ogun politics by Anisulowo or any other politician.”

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Vice President Osinbajo Visits Enugu, Approves Special Window Registration For MSMEs

In its bid to further ease the process of registering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo today, announced the Federal Government’s approval of a 90-day special window to register businesses at a reduced rate of N5000 only.

The Vice President who made the disclosure on Tuesday at the launch of the 19th edition of the National MSMEs Clinics in Enugu, Enugu State, said the special window of 90 days starts from October 1st to Dec 31st 2018.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, “It was observed during some of the earlier editions of the MSME Clinics that a lot of MSMEs were finding it difficult to register their businesses as a result of cost.

Speaking on other initiatives by the Federal Government designed to consolidate the gains of the MSMEs Clinics, Prof. Osinbajo said, “we will be establishing shared facilities for MSMEs based on a partnership between the Federal Government, interested States, 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.”

He also announced the Federal Government’s willingness to partner with 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.

According to him, “we are also aware that some States have gone on to set up ‘One-Stop Shops’ after the Clinics. These One-Stop Shops bring all the relevant agencies together in one place so as to enable the MSMEs access their services on an on-going basis.

Prof. Osinbajo also said there were 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.”

He stated that the ongoing disbursement of collateral and interest-free loans given to petty traders under the GEEP TraderMoni programme would soon be launched in Enugu.

He thanked the Federal Government for the launch of the National MSMEs Clinics in the state, noting that it would greatly improve the lives of many youths especially those seeking employment opportunities.

Earlier in his remarks, Governor Ifeanyi, Ugwuanyi of Enugu said the State government had already keyed into some of the social investment programmes initiated by the Federal Government, assuring that the State would continue to cooperate with all federal authorities to improve the well-being of the people.

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