The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SEMEDAN) says review of National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will engender socio-economic development if seamlessly implemented at national and state levels.
The Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Radda, made this observation at the National Stakeholders Engagement for “Review of the National Policy on MSMEs” organised by SMEDAN in Owerri on Tuesday.
He said that the recently released National Survey on MSMEs estimated that MSMEs in Nigeria contributed 49.78 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria in the face of daunting challenges.
Radda was represented by Mr Wale Fasanya, the Director of Planning, Research, Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at SMEDAN.
He said the MSME sub-sector according to the survey, had created over 59,647 million employments across the country with the micro enterprises accounting for over 41,469 million, representing 99.8 per cent of the entire MSME of the populace.
He said that if the government and all stakeholders collaborated to provide an enabling environment, the MSMEs could get the country out of “the present predicament of unacceptable rate of unemployment, illicit financial engagements, insecurity, political and social violence.”
The director-general said that the review of the national policy on MSMEs would fast-track the process for creating the much needed enabling environment, while the issue of unemployment would be resolved within the shortest possible time.
He enumerated the achievements of SMEDAN in the past two years to include access to finance, technology and entrepreneurship training in the agency’s “One-Local Government One Product” programme by 109 cooperatives, while 19,550 micro enterprises had access to the agency’s Conditional Grant Scheme.
Radda said that 460 young business owners were provided with workspaces in Anambra, Kebbi, Kogi, Cross Rivers and Osun states under the “Young Business Owners” programme.
He said there was the need for a cohesive public-private partnership in the implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs for it to be effective.
“The need for a long-term MSME strategy (provided by a national policy on MSMEs) as an imperative for national development cannot be over-emphasised.
“This is why emphasis is placed on reviewing the document every four years to be sure that the full potential that exist within the MSME space is fully explored and exploited.
“I equally know that the gathering of great minds here today will not also shy away from discussing the need to engage all enablers (regulatory and compliance) in mutual advocacy towards creating an environment that is truly enabling for MEMEs,” he said.
Mr Leonard Ugboaja, the Senior Special Assistant to the Imo Government on Ease of Doing Business, who represented the Gov. Emeka Ihedioha, commended the organisers for choosing Imo as the venue of the programme for the South East Zone.
He said the state government was passioinate about the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) and had initiated moves to empower the youths in the area of Agriculture – modern farming techniques-, ICT, and Technical and Vocational Education, among others.
Ugboaja said the state government was renovating four vocational institutions and had commenced massive road construction, adding that the vision of the government was to give the people the much desired succour.
He expressed optimism that the deliberations would contribute meaningfully to the growth of MSMEs in the state and country in general.
Mr Levi Ayinkwa, the South-East Zonal Coordinator for SMEDAN, said that the agency had spearheaded some novel initiatives that had opened the doors of entrepreneurship development across the country in the last two years.
He said the National Policy on MSMEs, which was the maiden policy formulated in 2007, stipulated a review every four years.
He said the last review was in 2015, hence the need for a mandatory harvest of inputs from critical stakeholders to ensure the policy was robust, inclusive and implementable.
Ayinkwa said the participants were carefully selected for the development of the policy document and urged them to make inputs based on their fields of expertise.
“I urge you to help in facilitating the seamless implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs in your various organisations when the Federal Executive Council approves the document,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the participants had demanded for business loans for the rural dwellers without collateral, more awareness on business registration in the country, reduction in the cost of registration of business and review of the requirements for the registration of business.
They also urged government to introduce business-friendly policies to enable small business enterprises to exist, have access to markets and manufacturers, and ensure good road network to access the markets and manufacturers. (NAN)