The Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, has said that Nigeria is yet to benefit substantially from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS). Radda said the benefits and incentives which AGOA and ETLS present span over 6,400 products which are in abundance in Nigeria.The Director General expressed this concern on Monday in his welcome address at the capacity building programme tagged, “Strengthening of Business Membership Organizations (BMOS) To Global Competitiveness” held in Owerri, the Imo state capital.
The SMEDAN boss also noted that one of the greatest challenges for the Nigerian economy was the lack of foreign exchange; adding that MSMEs have the potential of generating sizable foreign exchange through export of Nigerian goods and services.
According to Radda, the capacity building programme is geared towards promoting MSMEs in Nigeria and show case their potential, expose them to business/networking opportunities, access to raw materials availabilities, export market linkages, maintaining standardization for global competitiveness and deliberate to proffer solutions towards revamping the nation economically.
If Nigerian MSMEs can be developed and equipped to properly reap from the benefits these opportunities present alone, Nigeria will actualize the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), he stated.
He added; “Our MSMEs are capable of generating enough foreign exchange and generate massive employment for our teeming unemployed youth.
“The ETLS was adopted as a conscious policy to effectively mobilize national capacities for accelerated industrial growth and economic development. It is mainly targeted at increasing free flow of intra-community trade on goods that are mostly produced in the member states of ECOWAS. Nigeria as a major player in ECOWAS is expected to capture the entire ECOWAS market through the operations of the Nigerian MSMEs.
This, the SMEDAN boss said is to accelerate the development of the MSME sector in Nigeria by strengthening the capacities of the BMOs and Trade Associations, thus enabling more effective operation and the sustainability of these organizations in the short, medium to long term.
Radda further said, "This capacity building has been scheduled to hold in two locations; Owerri which is strictly for women owned Business Membership Organizations with a total of 110 participants i.e. 10 members each from 11 Women BMOs starting from 26th – 28th February 2018 and Kano with a total of 90 participants i.e. 5 members each from 18 other BMOs starting from 6th – 8th March, 2018."
He assured that the agency would continue to strive for excellence and strategic growth through forming strong partnerships with reputable public and private sector institutions.