Abia State Governor,Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has given reasons on why his administration added the development of Small and Medium Enterprises into Cardinal Five Pillars of Development.
The Governor who was speaking at Michael Okpara Auditorium Umuahia on the occasion of the 2022 World SME Day, said that People of the State are gifted with Enterprenual Prowess and Ingeniuty which formed his decision to mainstream SME and create the Ministry of SME in the state.
He noted that his adminstration has encouraged over 1000 businesses between 2015 till date adding that with Abia State being the SME capital of Nigeria, the state government would continue to encourage and support more businesses to thrive.
Governor Ikpeazu stated that the idea of funding and patronage are essential in SME development, and encouraged all who may want to venture into SME to think of the power imbedded in them, be willing to learn and act and also exhibit honesty.
While recalling that between 2015 and today, Abia State has consistently won national awards in the SME sub- sector and appreciated and awardee from Abia, Mr Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke who emerged the Access bank overall MSME of the year award with the sum of One million Naira.
The State Chief Executive also presented winners who were selected for their business proposals with start up funds ranging from 250- 750 thousand naira each.
Earlier in her speech, the commissioner Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Lady Adaku Oseiza pointed out that Abia is not lagging behind in SME development as Abia SME has scored many first includingsetting up the Enyimba Automated Shoe company, establishing an SME bank tailored towards helping small businesses to thrive among others.
She noted that Abians have consistently won various categories of MSME annual awards, sponsored by the office of the Vice President, stressing that Abia SME under Governor Ikpeazu has made progress and could eminently pass the international best practices parameter set up by the united nations.
The ceremony witnessed goodwill messages from stakeholders in the SME sector, including the manager Abia Microfinance Bank and representative of SMEDAN while the Governor later unveiled the first Abia SME business directory.