How SMEDAN is transforming Nigeria’s job market

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How SMEDAN is transforming Nigeria’s job market

By Lucy Ogalue

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), says it is committed towards ensuring the transformation of Nigeria’s job market to enhance economic development.

The Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Charles Odii said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

While speaking on the strides of the agency President Bola Tinubu- led administration, Odii said the agency had a mandate to grow Nigeria’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“At SMEDAN, we have a mandate for the MSMEs sector and it is themed under Guidance, Resources, Opportunities and Work for support (GROW).

“Now, for work support, one of the things that we do is to help build the capacities of our small businesses and connect them to talents.

“And this is in line to create jobs and by doing so, we reduce the rate of unemployment and in that, capacity of money to do work, and earn a decent living in a country like Nigeria.

“So the first thing that we have done for our small businesses is help to identify their pain points, run a risk assessment on what exactly the small businesses need,’’ he said.

Odii said that it was important to know where the small businesses are located, and the problems they are confronted with.

According to him, it is only then we can start to meticulously deploy intervention that will help solve their problems.

He also highlighted the importance of understanding the needs of businesses across all 36 states and the FCT.

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“Beyond that, we have started to create jobs. We empowered a couple of small businesses with tools that they need to start and grow enterprises, by doing so they will create jobs.

“We granted many of them, approximately 10,000 small businesses from SMEDAN have been granted funds for them to start businesses and then expand.

“His Excellency the President, in tandem with job creation has earmarked the sum of N200 billion for entrepreneurs in Nigeria,’’ he said.

According to Odii, N75 billion is earmarked for those in manufacturing, another N75 billion for small businesses and N50 billion in terms of grant to Nano businesses and they can access as much as one  billion Naira at a single digit.

“We at SMEDAN help to build the capacity of these small businesses, we train them and then we deploy resources to them.

“We have identified approximately 12,060 people who have interest and by the end of next week, we are going to place at least 4, 000 of them in high paying jobs where the minimum pay they get is N100,000.

“We are doing this in partnership with one of our partners in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

According to Odii, the agency in the last seven weeks created approximately 48,000 jobs, while expressing hope to do as much as a million before the end of this administration.

The director-general said these are some of the things SMEDAN was doing to support small businesses, to create jobs and to stimulate the economy. (NAN)

Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

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