The new national policy on micro- small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) being put in place by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) and other stakeholders in the sector is expected to help provide an enabling environment for the MSMEs to function at maximal capacities.
The Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda made this disclosure on Thursday, while delivering an opening remark during a virtual conference on the Final Validation of the Reviewed National Policy on MSMEs.
He said the multiplier effect of such a healthy business environment is expected to allow the MSMEs create a minimum of 41million jobs within the next 3years.
Dr. Radda told the over 400 people that participated in the virtual conference that the performance and wellbeing of the enterprises is largely dependent on the existence and implementation of a functional National Policy on MSMEs.
To that effect therefore, the Director General said that towards ensuring the National Policy achieves its objectives, there is the obvious need for sustained and vigorous awareness creation and deliberately building the entrepreneurial capacities of young entrepreneurs.
He said the issues that border on compliance by small and growing businesses and the need for more innovative funding windows also received significant attention in the revised policy document, adding that the draft policy did not also lose sight of the need to initiate a symbiotic relationship and synergy among all key MDAs with mandates that influences the performance of MSMES.
According to Dr. Radda, the desire to consistently and sustainably realize the Agency’s mandate and ensure that MSMEs contribute significantly to the national GDP and economic growth was part of the several reasons SMEDAN embarked on the review of the Policy, adding that further justification for the review is the fact that the maiden National Policy on MSMEs recommended a review of the policy every four (4) years.
He also said the need for the policy to address certain interventions, initiatives and socio-economic issues both at the national and global space with implications on the operations of the MSMEs and even the large enterprises are also reasons for the review.
He said, “In our attempt to capture the inputs of critical stakeholders, we had to engage with the operators, researchers and enablers along a zonal arrangement of the country. The outcome of the engagement is quite encouraging but as usual we want to be sure that your views are properly and adequately captured and presented in the new policy document, hence the validation exercise.”
According to him, the policy document has attempted to redefine the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises subsector in Nigeria (with special emphasis on the Micro enterprises) to align with both local and international benchmarks while giving special considerations to the report of the 2017 SMEDAN/NBS MSME Survey.
Continuing, Dr. Radda said, “There has also been deliberate effort to give prominence to agriculture and agribusiness sector in view of the sector’s importance in driving the realization of the “Next Level” agenda of the Federal Government. Another major area the revised policy has touched is the significant input that ICT revolution and innovation has contributed to the performance and contributions of the MSME subsector.
“Having assiduously worked with relevant stakeholders within the MSME space, SMEDAN is hopeful that the revised National Policy will be able to facilitate and sustain a vibrant MSME sub-sector that will be the major driver of national economic growth and employment.
This, we hope to achieve by accelerating the profitable expansion of existing MSMEs along their value chain, ensuring the seamless transition from micro to small enterprises, small to medium enterprises and medium to large enterprises and thereby enabling them to increase their contributions to GDP and employment generation. We are also confident that the policy will be able to provide the enabling environment for the emergence of new MSMEs in Nigeria, especially among women and the youths.
He expressed concern over the slow responses from States in inaugurating their various MSME Councils, adding however that the revised policy has proposed an implementation process that will involve both private and public stakeholders in all tiers of Government.
He explained that SMEDAN has ensured that every stakeholder’s interest is captured and fully presented in the policy document which he said is still a draft, saying further contributions to enrich the final document are welcome.
He said, “The Agency, as part of her attempts to fill the void created by the dearth of usable data, is presently implementing the MSMEs Marketplace Database. This initiative is designed to furnish stakeholders with the vital MSME-related information (MSMEs listing by sector, location, input requirements, products/Services, output, financing gaps and in-house standards status.
It also aims to engender and fast-track market linkages, enterprise cooperation and enhance regulatory oversight as congruent with the vision of the Agency which is to establish a structured and efficient MSME sub-sector that will encourage and enhance sustainable economic development.
“Closely related to the above initiative is the MSMEs Mass Registration Program (MMRP). This initiative seeks to formalize the largely informal MSME operators while conferring on each registered business an identity in form of a SMEDAN unique identification number. It will also seek to enhance a company’s reputation with customers/clients. The MMRP initiative will also enable the promoters to open a corporate account with any of the formal banks,” Radda stated.
Other benefits of registration according to him include easy access to Government procurement, subsidized micro insurance, access to training and business development support services, among others.
He told his audience that there was the need for a cohesive public-private partnership in the implementation of the National Policy on MSME for it to be effective, adding that his management was confident that more States will be able to identify with the obvious need to focus on the structured and sustained development of the MSME sub-sector in their various States.
“What we intend to achieve from this validation exercise,” he said, “is to enable the Agency and our parent Ministry present an implementable National Policy on MSMEs document that would be considered and approved by the Federal Executive Council while some cross-cutting issues like definition can eventually be backed by legislation.”
Speaking further, the Director General stated that the implementation of the policy is obviously behind schedule in view of the fact that the Agency was almost rounding up the validation exercise before the lockdown that was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was pronounced by Mr. President, adding that the decision to use the ZOOM channel to conclude the validation exercise is to avoid unnecessary delay and to provide a platform that will allow for contributions from all the stakeholders from within and outside the shores of Nigeria.