Over 2000 MSMEs in Sokoto state have been empowered under the Conditional Grant Scheme CGS Initiative of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria SMEDAN with a grant of N103.5million. Each of 90 beneficiaries from the 23 local government areas of the state was granted N50, 000. The Director General and chief Executive officer of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, said: “This present initiative looks to promoting the activities of micro enterprises across the country in the areas of capacity building and the delivery of post-intervention support services such as access to finance (conditional grants), market, workplace, technology etc.”
Radda explained that the process would enable informal enterprises metamorphose into formal sector, industrialize the nation, develop the rural economy, stem youth restiveness and unemployment as well as create sustainable economic growth and development.
He disclosed that Women Cooperative Societies were selected in Goronyo, Shagari and Ilela local government areas, which included processors of groundnut, rice and cassava products. According to him, transparent strategies were adopted in the selection of beneficiaries, adding that the criteria included that they own existing or initiate a new business, registered or would be registered among all categories of trades with proper identifications.
The SMEDAN Director General also expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to implement its ‘One Local Government One Product’ (OLOP) initiative in each of the 109 Senatorial District in the country to boost the MSMEs in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Commerce, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, underscored the justification for a special entrepreneurship/vocational development intervention for entrepreneurs at the bottom of the pyramid based on the need to industrialize the nation, develop the rural economy, stem youth restiveness, unemployment and create the platform for sustainable growth and development in Nigeria.
“The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises represent one of the most important subsectors of our economy. It currently represents 96% of the businesses in Nigeria and contributes 84.02% to the National Labour Force,” she noted. The minister added that: “Of the 37 million MSMEs in Nigeria, over 36 million are microenterprises. Thus, growth of the sector is directly correlated with growth in the economy as a whole and in the level of employment throughout Nigeria.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, Northern Senators Forum, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko lauded the federal government initiative he particularly commended SMEDAN for its role in developing MSMEs in Nigeria, “I have watched with keen interest the role the Management of SMEDAN are playing in this sector”. Senator Wamakko noted that the CGS scheme was a game changer adding it is indeed a catalyst for economic development especially at the grassroots.