The Federal Government and the Lagos State Government on Friday inaugurated Eko Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Fashion Hub-1 at Old Alade Market, Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking virtually during the inauguration, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s commitment to supporting the growth and development of MSMEs in the country.
Osinbajo said with the launch of the Eko MSME Fashion Hub-1, MSMEs in and around Ikeja would no longer have to travel far to use the equipment.
According to him, the fashion equipment are expensive for individual businesses to procure by themselves, hence, the need for the fashion hub.
”With the full scale production line, this hub will enable production of a diverse range of clothing and garments, wedding dresses, office dress.
”Very soon, the products of the hub will be ubiquitous on the streets and will be sourced around the country.
”The fashion industry will be one of Nigeria’s biggest sources of revenue.
”The shared facility scheme which we are launching today and this particular one seeks to provide high quality operating equipment which small businesses can access at a reasonable cost.
”It help reduce operating cost for users, allowing them to invest their savings in expanding their businesses and hiring more staff.
”MSMEs are the engine for Nigeria’s economy because when they thrive, the country thrives and when they struggle, the country struggles,” he said.
The vice president said plans were also ongoing to commission similar facilities at Kaduna, Anambra and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) before the end of the year.
According to him, the Fashion Hub 1 was expected to serve 380 Small and Medium Enterprises daily.
Osinbajo said that the federal government was committed to ensuring that MSMEs thrived through access to credit from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Development Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry (BoI).
He charged other state governments and the Organised Private Sector to emulate initiatives that would engender the development of MSME across the country.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that in spite of the efforts of the small and medium enterprises, only about 40 per cent ever survive beyond five years.
Sanwo-Olu said that this made it impossible for the small businesses to contribute their quota to the country’s socio-economic growth on a sustainable basis.
He said that the shared facility that was being commissioned and handed over to the community was certainly a step in the right direction.
According to him, it is a win-win situation for everybody as it shows the progressive dedication to the eradication of poverty and the economic emancipation of the people
”We are here to witness the implementation of an innovative strategy that is expected to re-energise the fashion industry, stimulate creativity, and also create employment opportunities for our teeming population.
”The destiny of several Lagosians is about to positively change because of this facility. This is the beginning of many victories over unemployment and poverty,” the government said.
Also, Mrs Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said the shared facility would provide a conducive environment for the SME space.
Katagum said that the initiative was one of the key take aways of the MSME clinic chaired by the vice president.
She said that shared facilities were effective tools that could address infrastructure challenges, which had hindered the growth of SMEs.
The minister commended the Lagos State Government for the laudable initiative, particularly at this time when support for SMEs was critical amid the pandemic.
Dr Lola Akande, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, said that the centre was the first phase of the shared MSME Fashion facility.
Akande said that the facility was equipped with state-of-the-art machinery such as industrial button-hole machines, monogram machines, among others.
”This would serve for suits and shirts, tinko machines, straight sewing industrial machines, industrial embroidery machines, amongst others, to afford MSMEs in the fashion space the opportunity to utilise them for a token,” she said.
The commissioner said that the facility would also enhance productivity of quality apparel capable of competing favourably globally.
”In so doing, skilled and semi-skilled fashion designers who ordinarily would be thwarted by prohibitive start-up expenses are availed the privilege of access to these industrial machines for a token.
”This is aimed at ultimately creating jobs, boosting trade and commerce, improving income and increasing GDP as a corollary.
”This centre is also intended for capacity building and continued upskilling of those in the fashion industry; after all, education is known to be a life-long process,” she said.
The Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe, while acknowledging the outstanding growth of the Nigerian fashion industry, reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to grow the nation’s fashion industry.
”We will continue to partner with the fashion industry, because we believe it will boost local growth of SMEs in that space,” Wigwe said. (NAN)