OJO ISAAC writes that Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has flagged off conditional grant scheme for micro enterprises in Nnewi, Anambra state
In his speech at the occasion, the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umaru Radda who was represented in Nnewi by Mr Olawale Fasanya, Director, Planning, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation said his agency aims at fast tracking small businesses.
Radda said SMEDAN has a unique objective of nurturing small businesses to become medium and later large businesses because according to him, the micro enterprise sub sector is a critical sub sector in the Nigerian enterprise development space.
He pointed out that the sub sector collectively account for a majority of the enterprises in the country and also account for the highest number of jobs created in the economy.
“In terms of employment the total number of persons employed by micro enterprise in 2010 was 15,641,460 representing 90.41 percent of the total number of employed persons in Nigeria. In 2013, the total number of persons employed by micro enterprises was 57,836,391 representing 96.88 percent of the total number of persons employed.” He pointed out.
Radda however noted that over 90 percent of the micro enterprises are informal and populated by people at the bottom of the pyramid which he said necessitated the need for the agency to conceptualize a flagship program referred to as Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) for micro enterprises in Nigeria.
The SMEDAN boss said the present initiative(CGS) looks to promoting the activities of micro enterprises across the country in the area of capacity building and delivery of post intervention support services such as access to finance, markets, workspace, technology among others.
He said over thirteen thousand micro enterprises shortlisted in the pilot scheme across Katsina, Gombe, Ebonyi, Oyo, Akwa Ibom and Benue states were positively impacted with entrepreneurship trainings, formalization of businesses through registration with Corporate Affairs Commission, provision of micro insurance and access to finance through the special grants.
Radda said the micro enterprises played a key role in cushioning the effect of economic depression in Nigeria which he said was not so in many nations of the world that suffered untold hardship.
The lawmaker representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo local government areas in the House of Representatives, Hon Chris Azubogu who was represented by Mrs Ijeoma Ezeako appealed to Anambra state government to help small businesses to grow by being moderate and considerate in its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive.
The Anambra state governor, Chief Wiliie Obiano represented by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Market, Industries and Wealth Creation, Mr Daniel Okoli before flagging off the scheme said the government is friendly with any agency that is ready to encourage the people of the state actualize their potentials.
A spokesperson for the two hundred and seventy beneficiaries drawn from across the state, Mr Ifeanyi Nwagbala popularly called Ishimili thanked Hon Chris Azubogu for dragging SMEDAN to Nnewi for the purposes of positively impacting small and medium scale businesses.