The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, says the establishments of industrial clusters will fast-track the realization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan recently launched by the Federal Government. Abubakar stated this, yesterday, while launching the study on the viability of the existing Industrial Development Centres in preparation for redeveloping and transforming them into industrial clusters in Abuja. The underlying objective of the project, she said, was to establish state of the art Common Infrastructure Facility Centres that would resolve some of the challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) with particular regard to accessing work space and common amenities like internet access, water, power, roads e.t.c. “This is projected to improve the global competiveness of our SMEs, by reducing overhead costs and enjoying economies of scale as is usually the case with clusters.” she said.
In his welcome address, the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru Radda says the agency has considered turning the industrial Development Centres (IDCs) to Industrial Clusters to address the problem of work space for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and promote economics of scale derivable from the agglomeration of critical mass of enterprises.
The Senior Director, Nigeria Country Department of The African Development Bank Group (AFDB), Ebrima Faal, represented by the Principal Private Sector Specialist, Mr Emmanuel Akinwumi, said the launch of the study signified the importance of the government and the AFDB commitment towards finding ways of growing Nigeria’s economy through shared infrastructure and promoting industry, trade and investment as support to economic diversification and SMEs development.
The study which is sponsored by a grant of approximately $600,000 or N183 million secured from the middle income country technical assistance fund of AFDB, is the first to be granted to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment/SMEDAN to encourage and improve sustainable entrepreneurial development specifically targeted on SMEs in the country.
The launch was attended by representatives of the Minister of Science and Technology, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), the Deputy President of the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialist, (NASSI) Rep of Director General Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and the Director General of the Raw Materials Research Development Council (RMRDC) among others.