Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has said that the Micro, Small and Medium Entreprises (MSMEs) sector accounted for about 76% of the nation’s labour force and contributes about 50% to the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP).
The Minister revealed this while giving an opening remarks at the maiden edition of National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Discourse (MSMEs) with the theme “Little beginnings; Huge Impact” as part of the activities lined up for the celebration of the National MSME Week in Abuja.
Amb. Katagum said, “In Nigeria, a recent survey revealed that the MSMEs sector accounts for about 76% of the nation’s labour force and contributes about 50% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”.
She further stated that MSMEs make up over 90% of all firms globally and account, on average, for 60 – 70% of the total employment and 50% of GDP worldwide.
The Minister acknowledged that MSMEs sector plays a pivotal role in stimulating economic growth and providing employment to vulnerable groups such as youth, women and the poor and this informed the commitment and sustained interest of the Federal Government in repositioning the sector for efficiency, growth and development.
“To this end, the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to explore possible interventions to cushion the effect of the economic downtime, especially on micro, small and medium businesses by providing palliatives to enable recovery, sustenance and improvements under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP). Some of these interventions include the MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Scheme. Also, it is imperative to know that no nation can develop its economy without concerted efforts that facilitate private sector participation, financing and improving social services delivery hence Federal Government will continue to provide the enabling environment by ensuring that policies and programmes towards MSMEs development are deliberately designed to yield the desired results” the Minister stated.
Amb. Katagum disclosed that the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) has mapped out strategies for the coordination of the delivery of enterprises development in the country by directly addressing the critical factors that inhibit the growth and development of MSMEs initiatives in the country.
She added that in order to ensure effective coordination of the programmes under NEDEP, a NEDEP Web Portal is being established, in a close collaboration with all the stakeholders, as part of efforts to concentrate MSMEs transactions in a single location towards maximizing the benefits of the ease of doing business.
The Minister of State further revealed that in its commitment to complement other efforts to ease the operations of MSMEs, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment initiated the establishment of Common Facility Centres (CFCs) for priority products across the country, to provide shared common facilities for MSMEs so as to address the challenge of access to workspace as well as machinery and equipment facing the operators.
“So far, six of such Centres are being established by the Ministry. They are Wood processing in Abeokuta, Shea butter processing in Minna, Leather processing in Sokoto, Shoe making in Aba, Palm Kernel processing in Uyo and Leather processing in Katsina. The Common Facility Center for wood processing in Abeokuta, has been completed and commissioned while others are at various stages of completion” she stated.
Amb. Katagum reiterated that the Buhari led-administration was committed to implementing policies, programmes and projects that would create an enabling environment to stimulate domestic investment and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in all sectors of the economy to make Nigeria a preferred investment destination in Africa and the world at large.
She urged the private sector, especially operators in the MSME space to take full advantage of these initiatives saying she is optimistic that with the crop of discussants and participants at this event, a practical communiqué, that would be a milestone towards lifting Nigerian MSMEs to the next level, will surely emerge.
The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo in his keynote address stated that ” MSMEs are engine of growth for the economy accounting, as they do for almost half of national income and three quarters of jobs”
The Vice President further explained that “Despite the importance of MSMEs, the tendency over the years has been to pay lip service to this critical part of the economy perhaps because of their individual small scale. However, given the priority it attaches to the sector, the Buhari Administration has supported MSMEs in various ways including the MSME Clinics Initiative which is conducted through a partnership of MDAs that are consumer facing”.
Prof. Osinbajo, stated that “Over the past few years, we have held a national MSME day in tandem with world MSME Day as declared by the United Nations. However, in order to further build the profile of MSMEs and promote understanding of the sector, we decided to dedicate the whole of this week to promoting awareness about the achievements of our MSMEs and highlighting their needs”
The Vice President expressed optimism that the very distinguished stakeholders participating in the event would give further insights and throw more light on salient issues affecting small businesses.
Prof. Osinbajo thanked the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment for their stellar leadership of the MSMEs agenda as well as the various Chief Executive Officers of Public and Private sector Organizations who have kept the MSME Clinics spirit alive.
The Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo in his welcome address said that ” Indeed the importance of MSMEs to Nigerian economy cannot be overstated, MSMEs represent 96% of the total number of businesses in the country, contributing about 50% to the total the National GDP and account for 84% of the nation’s employment. This means that when MSMEs thrive the country thrives”.
Other activities lined up for the MSME Week celebration included an MSME Clinic in one of the States of the Federation, the MSME National Discourse, a Fashion and Art Exhibition and National MSME Awards Night.
Comfort Eleojo Unane
Senior Information Officer
For: Assistant Director Information.