In a bid to ensure the growth of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Computer Warehouse Group CWG Plc at the Corporate headquarters of the agency in Abuja.The objective of the MOU is to provide an ICT technology platform for the use of MSMEs at very little cost; this would also avail them the services of an Enterprises Resource Planning (ERP) platform called Small and Medium Enterprise Resource Planning (SMERP). This platform will allow the MSMEs to manage their business operations and provides functionalities such as accounting management, inventory management, sales and order tracking. The MOU’s Second objective is to provide an e-commerce platform that enables MSMEs to sell their goods and services online by creating a virtual store for each SME on the internet.
In his remark at the signing ceremony, the Director-General of SMEDAN Alhaji Bature Umar Masari lamented the major issues affecting MSMEs, including access to finance and markets. He said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between SMEDAN and the Computer Warehouse Group will effectively ameliorate these challenges.
Alhaji Masari noted that the challenges facing the country today would be a thing of the past if the potentials of the MSME sub sector of the economy is fully realised. He said the development of the MSME sector is key to poverty alleviation adding that the collaboration with CWG Plc is crucial to the development of MSMEs in the country.
Responding the Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) and Entrepreneur in resident at Columbia Business School (CBS) Mr Austin Okere said the SMEDAN/CWG collaboration would boost the development of MSMEs in the country. He said the latest World Bank Doing Business Report indicated that Nigeria had moved five 5 places up, adding this is well above the average improvement of two positions by the MINT countries comprising of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. Mr. Okere added that the starting a business and getting credit pillars saw the most significant changes moving up nine and 73 places respectively, a situation he said was significantly aided by the contribution of SMEDAN.
According to Mr. Okere “We know that unemployment is a big issue in our country, according to statistics from the NBS, unemployment in Nigeria today stands at 23.9 percent or 16 million people. If this project helps the 17.7 million MSMEs to build capacity so that they each employ one additional person, we would have helped to create 17.7 million jobs’’.
Continuing, he said “for me thepursuit of this sustainable social impact investing objective, which we have termed CWG2.0, ties in strongly with the SMEDAN mandate, and we are pleased to join hand with SMEDAN to actualise it”.
Mr. Okere commended SMEDAN for the stringent due diligence which has culminated in the signing of the MOU, which he considers just the beginning of what both parties need to do in this laudable journey towards helping SMEs.