Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia on Friday began the distribution of business name certificates to Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to boost wealth creation and development in the state.
Ikpeazu said during the ceremony, in Umuahia, that the initiative was expected to stimulate economic growth in the state and nation at large.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event is part of the Federal Government’s Free Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) Business Name Registration exercise.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chris Ezem, said the benefits of registering a business venture were enormous.
According to him, no matter how you carry on your business, if it is not registered with CAC, that business is attached to your person and it limits the business.
“When a business is registered, it becomes a corporate entity and visible to investors.
“This gives the business the power to access funds from financial institutions and take advantage of financial support from international organisations interested in helping SMEs to grow.”
He commended the Federal Government for introducing the initiative and thanked everyone that played a role in ensuring the success of the exercise in Abia.
The governor said that planning, integrity and discipline were significant qualities essential for the growth of a business, and charged the beneficiaries to imbibe these.
Ikpeazu expressed delight that the initiative would drive Abia government’s vision to help SMEs grow and prayed that the exercise would mark a turning point in the fortunes of SMEs in the state.
In his address, Mr Chinenye Nwogu, Abia Focal Person on Social Investment Programme, said the exercise was a Federal Government Survival Fund Programme known as Business Formalisation Programme.
Nwogu said the programme would assist SMEs to have a legal identity as well as access to any facility grants or loans from government, development agencies and commercial banks.
Nwogu said that Abia government in partnership with Keystone bank PLC would assist the beneficiaries to open corporate accounts at a subsidised amount.
“We want to thank Abia government for its continued commitment toward ensuring that small businesses in Abia thrive and develop strong transaction history.
“SMEs can be described as the engine room of every developing economy, as it creates maximum opportunities especially for young people.
“Abia government will continue to support young people that are desirous to start up businesses in line with its current financial inclusion programme ,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Nkwachukwu Agomuoh, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, said the ministry was desirous to achieve its mandate of stimulating the economy through SMEs.
Agomuoh commended the state government for creating a ministry to run business development and handling of SME matters to encourage ease of doing business in Abia.
Also, Mr Austin Akuma, Zonal Manager of Keystone Bank Plc said the bank would not relent in supporting government’s effort in boosting socioeconomic development.
Akuma urged the beneficiaries to uphold the principles of credibility and formulate a business plan that would ensure that miscalculations that could kill a business were avoided.
Responding on behalf of other beneficiaries, Mr Chibueze Anya thanked the Federal and state governments for providing an avenue for SMEs to grow.
Anya expressed confidence that the initiative would go a long way in encouraging Nigerians to be self-reliant as well as tackle the problem of unemployment.