The Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on Friday virtually commissioned the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for MSMEs called the Eko Fashion Hub 1, in Lagos State.
The Eko facility was developed through collaboration between the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government, and the Organized Private Sector. It is an end-to-end fashion production centre equipped with needed machinery and will be made available to the public under a shared facility style structure.
According to the Vice President, the Federal Government remains deeply committed to creating a more business friendly environment for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to thrive, as they are the engine room of the Nigerian economy.
He added that the MSMEs’ Shared Facility Scheme, being implemented by the Buhari administration under the National MSMEs Clinics, “seeks to provide high-quality operating equipment which small businesses can access at a reasonable cost, within a conducive space.”
He said this facility will “help reduce operating costs for users, allowing them to invest the savings in expanding their businesses and hiring more staff.”
Speaking further on the significance of the facility in Lagos State, regarded as Africa’s fashion capital, the VP added that, “the Eko MSME Fashion Hub 1, which is strategically located by the old Alade market, just off the Allen Avenue roundabout, one of the leading commercial hubs on the continent, is equipped with first-rate machines and equipment. I am told it will service 380 MSMEs daily, and 136,800 yearly.
The VP noted that, “the choice of Alade Market and the general Allen Avenue area was a unanimous one arising from extensive consultations between the Federal Government’s MSME Clinics project, the Lagos State Government and the fashion cluster in Lagos.
“With the launch of the Eko MSME Fashion Hub 1, MSMEs in and around Ikeja will no longer have to travel far to use equipment that is expensive for individual businesses to procure by themselves such as those for making button-holes or monogramming.
“With its full-scale production line, this Hub will enable production of a diverse range of clothing and garments: wedding dresses, military uniforms, office wear, and similar products.
“Very soon, the products of the Hub will be ubiquitous on the streets and in stores around the country. The fashion industry will be one of Nigeria’s biggest sources of revenues; it will be bigger than oil,” he added.
There are 161 machines at the EKO facility, including 74 industrial straight sewing machines, 10 industrial steam pressing irons, four monogramming machines, eight industrial button-hole and five industrial button tacking machines, Tinko and Coil machines, heming and industrial weaving machines, among others. The Facility also has a 100kva standby generator and a 2kva solar power system.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was physically present at the event in Ikeja, commended the President and Vice President for supporting the scheme, and stated that there would be plans to replicate the same in other parts of the state.
Virtually present at the commissioning was the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum; CEO and Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; and the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, in the Office of the Vice President, Tola Johnson.
Others include the CEO, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mr. Olukayode Pitan; Director-General/CEO, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda; Registrar General/CEO, Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar; Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Abba Bello, among others.
Other government officials on ground at the commissioning included the State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr. Lola Akande, among others.