As part of efforts to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country, the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment through the Bank of industry (BoI) has disbursed Fifteen Billion Naira (N15B), to 863 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) businesses across several sectors of the economy.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Evelyn Ngige disclosed this while declaring open the Technical Session of the ongoing 13th Meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment with the theme “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Nigeria: The role of Stakeholders” holding at Ado -Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Dr. Evelyn stated that “ In the implementation of the strategic pillar of the Federal Government to reduce the rate of unemployment in the country, the Ministry through the Bank of Industry (BOI) has disbursed N15 billion to 863 MSME businesses across several sectors”.
She further explained that N75bn MSMEs Survival Fund designed by the Federal Government to cushion the effect of Covid -19 pandemic has disbursed N8.80bn to 283, 336 beneficiaries under the Artisan Support and Transport Scheme, N459, 334 beneficiaries under the Payroll Support Scheme, and N4.12bn to 82, 491 beneficiaries under MSME Grant Scheme, bringing to total the sum of N56.84bn been disbursed to 835, 161 beneficiaries under the MSMEs Survival Fund Scheme.
The Permanent Secretary stressed that as part of the Government efforts to reduced poverty through the creation of jobs, various strategic wealth creation programmes have been embarked upon by the Ministry through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). This effort have also led to the review of the National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to encourage the establishment of more Small and Medium scale Enterprises within the length and breadth of the country and this has accelerated the profitable expansion of MSMEs along the value chain of development.
“These initiatives are all geared towards Mr. President’s promise of taking one hundred million (100 million) Nigerians out of poverty within the next years.
Other Programmes embarked on by FMITI include the “One Local Government, One Product (OLOP) programme” this is being implemented as a regional economic development model to galvanize and mobilize local resources in all the seven hundred and seventy- four (774) Local government Areas.
The Advancement for Women in Agriculture, Agro- Allied and Cottage Enterprise (AWACE) which has successfully developed the agro- processing capacity and capabilities of women is also initiated by the Ministry to create wealth and grow the economy”, the PermanentSecretary stated.
Dr Evelyn Ngige further disclosed that another initiative rigourously implemented is the National Business Skills Development Programme (NBSD), adding that, the NBSD has three components which include Entrepreneurship training, Vocational Skills Training and Provision of Empowerment Materials.
She explained the implementation of the programme has commenced in the North-East of the country ( Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto States) while the programme would cascade to the remaining geographical zones of the country.
She said five thousand, three hundred and sixty- five (5, 365) MSMEs have benefitted from the NBSD.Enterprise
The Permanent Secretary reiterated the commitment of the Government to create enabling environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which contributes a large percentage to the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) to thrive as the engine of growth of the national economy.
The Permanent Secretary Commended the visionary leadership of the Honourable Minister of Industry,Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo and the Honourable Minister of State, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, saying that, the Ministry and its Agencies have continued to demonstrate a high sense of commitment and dedication towards the attainment of Mr. President’s desire to diversify and strengthen the Nigerian economy through non-oil commodities.
She therefore urged all technical officials to carefully deliberate on the memos presented at the council and make actionable recommendations that would further strengthen the current efforts of the Government to industrialize and steer the country away from over dependence on crude oil exports.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Ekiti State, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua, said, the primary focus of our NCITI meetings is to proffer policies and solutions in the Industry,
Trade and Investment sector, and to chart a course that will transform the nation’s economy.
The Commissioner acknowledged that appreciable success is already achieved and noted that there is still much more to achieve.
Hon. Olumilua maintained that all stakeholders must have all hands on deck to ensure the development of the MSMEs, which are the backbone of any emerging economy.
“MSMEs are undoubtedly the surest way to diversify the economy, and emancipate the country from our overdependence on revenue from crude oil” , he stated.
He listed some of the steps taken since the inception of the Fayemi-led administration to promote the development of MSMEs which included the inauguration of the all encompassing State MSME Council to give direction and the requisite assistance to MSME business activitiesin the State; Facilitating MSME Survival Funds for over 9,000 artisans and transporters with each Beneficiary receiving N30,000 totalling N270,000,000.00;Training of 2,500 young entrepreneurs in the Agric- Bussiness Small and Medium Enterprises Investmebt Scheme ( AGSMEIS) of which 200 beneficiaries have been selected to date and a total of N729,000,000.00 has been disbursed to them, among others.
Speakers at the event included Professor of Agricultural Extension and Development, University of Ibadan, Prof.Mohammed Yahaya Kuta who presented a lead paper with the theme ” Role of Non Governmental Organisations in the Development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)” while the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs and Project Coordinator, MSMEs Survival Fund Scheme , Mr. Tola Johnson who was represented by Nguter Ujah made a presentation on the benefits of the MSME Survival Fund Scheme to the public.
In his vote of thanks, the Director Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics Department, Mr. Baba Gana Alkali, thanked all the dignitaries and participants at the event and wished all a fruitful and successful deliberations.
Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa (Mrs)
For: DD/ Head, Press and Public Relations Unit.