The Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umaru Radda has stated that with the continued support of the Lagos state Government, key programmes of the Agency such as NEDEP/OLOP will be effectively implemented in the State towards achieving the objectives of job creation, wealth creation and poverty alleviation in tandem with the change agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
In a keynote address at the inauguration of the Lagos state Council on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs held at Adeyemo Bero Hall, Alausa, Ikeja lagos on 3rd May 2016, Dr Radda noted that SMEDAN is one of the three institutions driving the implementation of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP). He said the State Council on MSMEs is a strong platform for ensuring the realization of the objectives of NEDEP and the National Policy on MSMEs at the State level.
The National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), which isaimed at generating an estimated 1.0 million jobs annually, is being implemented under three pillars namely Technical/Vocational Skills acquisition, Business Development Services (BDS)/Entrepreneurship training and Access to Finance. Dr Radda said The BDS/ entrepreneurship training component of NEDEP is being anchored under the One Local Government One Product (OLOP) Programme. Therefore, the overall objective of the OLOP/NEDEP programme is to revitalize the rural economy, improve employment opportunities and alleviate poverty in rural areas in Nigeria. This is being done through the establishment of sustainable MSMEs in the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) based on comparative and competitive advantages.
According to him, other benefits include the entrenchment of entrepreneurial culture, economic development, industrialization of rural areas, industrial cluster development, increased MSMES contribution to GDP, increased export potentials, crime reduction, wealth creation and political stability among others. The Director General further hinted that the Agency has conducted sensitization/needs assessment programme, baseline survey and value-chain analysis in all the States and FCT. He said that “At this level of the programme, cooperative societies and trade associations are formed & registered and assisted to develop bankable business plans as a prelude to access to finance, markets and machinery/equipment. About 2,371 Cooperative groups and their Business Plans from Lagos State have been handed over to the Bank of Industry (BOI) for appraisal and funding”.
On the state council on MSMEs, Dr Radda said the State Councils on MSMEs in Kano, Edo, Ogun, Kogi, Ebonyi, Taraba, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Bauchi, Bayelsa, and Kaduna States have been inaugurated, While that of Lagos will drive the overall development in the MSMEs sub-sector in the State, including the implementation of the National Enterprises Development Programme (NEDEP). Dr Radda thanked the State Government for consciously promoting the development of the MSMEs sub-sector in the State and expressed gratitude for the provision of a befitting office space for the Agency’s Lagos State Office and the Business Support Centre (BSC) in Matori, Lagos.
He acknowledged that the state Government has continued to partner with the Agency’s Lagos Office in the training of retiring/retired Lagos State civil servants, the hosting of fairs and exhibitions. The Director General also paid glowing tributes to the State Government for providing an opportunity for SMEDAN nurtured entrepreneurs to have access to the State’s micro credit scheme. He said The Agency’s State office will also house the secretariat of the State Council on MSMEs which will be the apex MSMEs organ in the State.
“These gestures will go a very long way in ensuring that the services of the Agency are effectively delivered to all target groups in the State in partnership with the State Government and the Council. In doing this, the State Government has joined the elite group of State Governments noted for supporting the MSMEs sub-sector in Nigeria”. As a way forward towards solidifying the partnership between SMEDAN and the State Government on MSMEs development and in line with international best practices, Dr Radda stated that the Agency proposes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) specifying the duties and obligations of both parties and overall deliverables & timelines.
Speaking at the inauguration of the council, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said that the establishment of the Lagos State Council on MSMEs was to ensure proper coordination of MSME subsector in the state and to key into the implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs. Ambode, who was represented by the Deputy Governor of the State, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, charged members of the Council to identify MSMEs operating in the state and recommend how the state can enhance their productivity so that they can truly serve as bedrock for the economic development of the state.
Elaborating on the functions of the Lagos State Council on MSME, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, said that the Council, among other things, will ensure that resources allocated for the support of the sector are properly and judiciously utilized. Ogunleye, who is also the Chairman of the Council said: “The Lagos State Council on MSMEs would be a platform for implementing the following five critical policy priorities of the national policy: Enabling a regulatory environment that supports MSMEs; Fostering MSME growth and profitability by promoting clusters; Facilitating business support services and creating demand for MSMEs’ products and services; Improving access to financial support for MSMEs; Raising broad-based awareness and appreciation for Entrepreneurship and equip a new generation of entrepreneurs with requisite business management skills; and Ensuring , through adequate vocational, technical and entrepreneurship training institutions, an adequately skilled workforce that can effectively support the growth of the MSMEs subsector in partnership with strategic MDAs at the federal, state and local government levels; the private sector and the civil society.