SMEDAN pledges to facilitate export of made-in-Nigeria furniture

SMEDAN boss during an inspection
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By Lucy Ogalue

The Director-General (D-G), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr Charles Odii, has said that the agency will help to facilitate the export of made-in-Nigeria furniture.

Odii made the promise when he visited the Kugbo Furniture Cluster Association in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Tuesday.

He said that the export of locally-made furniture would help to encourage the export of other made-in-Nigeria products.

The SMEDAN boss said that the agency remained focused in supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to improve their products to meet minimum international standards.

He also said that the agency was ready to support the association with machineries and access to funds to boost their production and perfect their product finishing.

According to him, this will enable them to favourably compete in any international market.

“This will not only generate favourable competition with other products across the globe but stimulate export potentials in the furniture industry.

“It will also create more jobs for the Nigerian youths,” Odii said.

He said that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration was focused on fasttracking economic development and creating multiple jobs to address unemployment.

“This can only be achieved, if the MSMEs are adequately supported,” he said.

He said the visit was to enable him to obtain first-hand information on the challenges inhibiting the growth of the furniture cluster.

Odii said that SMEDAN had established a Common Facility Centre (CFC) in Idu, equipped with the state-of-the-art machines and other relevant equipment.

“The centre is to be deployed for use by the furniture makers and an arrangement has been made with a logistics company to supply the finished products to any part of the country.

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“This will remove the barriers of global competitiveness and made-in-Nigeria furniture can be exported to the West African countries and European markets in due course.

“The agency is partnering with Sterling Bank for the provision of a N5 billion facility.

“The loan will be made available to eligible members of the furniture cluster.

“This support will not be complete without adequate training of the association members in modern production techniques, in addition to an empowerment programme, specifically for them,’’ he said.

The SMEDAN D-G donated N.8 million to the association and promised to also donate working tools to a majority of the members.

He urged them to pay a visit to SMEDAN office to examine the industrial machines at the CFC.

Responding, the Coordinating Chairman of the association, Mr Sebastian Emeningi, said that they were happy over the D-G’s visit.

Emeningi enumerated the challenges facing the association, ranging from low patronage by government agencies to insufficient funding opportunities to procure modern machineries and the lack of opportunity for training and re-training of members.

He said that they were under serious threat of being run out of business by foreign furniture companies, which had the backing of their home government.

NAN reports that the SMEDAN D-G was accompanied to the hub by the Head, Corporate Affairs of the agency, Mr Moshood Lawal. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Sam Oditah

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