By Ikenna Uwadileke
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has reiterated its commitment to promote programmes to accelerate growth and modernisation of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The Director General of SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Radda, said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja after one-week Agric-Business Development Empowerment Programme (ADEP) held in Katsina.
Radda described MSMEs as engines of socio-economic transformation of any nation, providing opportunities to drive jobs and wealth creation as well as income re-distribution.
“The relevance of the sub-sector is probably better driven home by the following emergent facts from the NBS-SMEDAN National Survey of MSMEs, 2017, which reported an estimated 41,543,028 MSMEs in Nigeria, contributing 49.78 per cent to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“The sub-sector also employs 76.5 per cent of the workforce (or about 59.6 million persons) and accounts for 7.64 per cent of exports.
Radda stressed that the expectation of SMEDAN was to drive more output from the sub-sector with more careful attention to resources deployment and proper management.
“The on-going ADEP training, is one of the instruments available to the SMEDAN’s Agribusiness Development and Extension (AD&E) Department to meet the agency’s mandate.
“The focus is on providing capacity building or human capital development, with associated business development services (BDS) to existing participants of existing Federal/State Government agribusiness initiatives as well as youth start-ups.
“This will procure the required mind-set, which inculcates agriculture in programme beneficiaries as a business – worthy of pride, devotion and diversification.
“We thus key into Mr President’s vision of raising 100 million persons out of poverty over the next four years.
“The objectives of this training programme include to encourage the target beneficiaries to embrace agri-business development, as a viable business option and strengthen entrepreneurship skills of potential/existing beneficiaries of agri-business development schemes,’’ he said.
The DG noted that the empowerment component of the programme was geared toward encouraging the diversification of the economy from crude oil, using agriculture.
He said, consequently, as part of our engagement here today,16 agribusiness cooperatives from this intervention in Katsina and Batagarawa, will each receive cash grants of about N288,000 amounting to a total of N4,620,000 only.
Radda urged the beneficiaries to make full use of the knowledge gained from the six days of training and counseling to properly channel the cash grants to grow their businesses.
“Expectedly, this should also help you to become role models to other compatriots and your communities.
“As we gather today, similar ADEP trainings are taking place in two centres each in Bauchi, Yobe, Enugu and Ogun States.
“Also, two weeks ago, we were in other five state-Kebbi, Borno, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Ondo, delivering impact as part our commitment to fostering the business skills of micro and small enterprises (MSEs),’’ he said.
Radda added that there would be regular visits on the beneficiaries to offer extension services with a view to firming their businesses unto maturity and prosperity. (NAN)