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SMEDAN moves to reduce furniture import into Nigeria

By Felix Khanoba

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says it has put mechanisms in place that will lead to drastic reduction in volume of furniture imports in the country.

Director General of SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, told newsmen in Abuja that the agency has finalised plans to create Furniture and Wood Enterprise Cluster that will provide Nigerians with adequate quality furniture and end the frequent trips to Italy, Turkey and other countries for the products.

Radda, who said the move would boost the nation’s foreign exchange, revealed that Idu Industrial Centre, Abuja, would be used as a pilot project for the Furniture and Wood Enterprise Cluster this year.

While saying the agency would ensure that the Cluster meets all standards required to have world class cluster for furniture and wood production, the SMEDAN boss expressed the readiness of the organisation to partner with interested members of the public to develop other industrial clusters across the country.

The SMEDAN DG said the Idu-Abuja Cluster is captured in the 2020 budget, adding that as soon as the money is released, the implementation of the project would commence in earnest.

He commended the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for its massive support for small and medium businesses in the country, assuring that the new furniture cluster which is expected to be launched by the president will further give a boost to the nation’s economy and create thousands of jobs opportunities for Nigerians.

‘Nigeria’s economy big enough for a bigger capital market’

The Acting Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Mary Uduk, says the country’s economy is big enough to accommodate a bigger and more attractive capital market.

Uduk made this known in a statement issued by Mrs Efe Ebelo, the commission’s Head of Corporate Communications, in Abuja on Sunday.

She noted that capital market contributed less than 10 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that the same market contributed almost 100 per cent to the GDP of South Africa.

According to her, we want a deeper, bigger, more attractive market.

“We think our economy is big enough to have a much bigger market.

“The capital market makes up less than 10 per cent of the GDP of the country. If you look at other countries even South Africa, it is over 100 per cent of GDP.

“We believe we have a large room for expansion and that is what we are pursuing,” Uduk said.

On electronic filing, Uduk said that the commission was working hard to ensure it commenced soon.

She said SEC was also in the process of deploying software that would help to actualise the plan.

“That will make filing more efficient, easier for capital market operators to send in returns to us and make the market more transparent”.

The director-general said that the introduction of electronic offering in the country’s capital market was a major achievement that would help solve the problems of unclaimed dividends.

Uduk said the commission was excited about electronic offering and was in support hence the need to develop the rules to guide its implementation.

“We believe that electronic offerings will help solve the problems of unclaimed dividends so it is something we are backing seriously.

“Through electronic offerings, we will not have the problems of identity as we had in previous listings.

“It has a lot of advantages, it means that people who are not close by during an offering can invest.

“We will be able to get the data we need for regulation; the offering is more efficient and it is cost saving.

“It is something we are working on; the rules will soon be out for everyone to use,’’ she said. (NAN)

Tony Elumelu donates tech centre to AAU

Chairman of UBA Group, Tony O. Elumelu, has donated a multipurpose information technology centre to his alma mater, Ambrose Ali University.

Through the UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Elumelu has championed the construction of a state-of-the-art multipurpose information technology building, which will benefit the students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State.

The hall, to be named The Tony O. Elumelu multipurpose hall, is furnished with computers, desks and chairs, measures 839 square meters and has adjoining offices and conveniences.

Elumelu highlighted his motivation: “Education is crucial to Nigeria’s human capital – whether our young people join our national institutions, the private sector or, as I did, take the entrepreneurial path, no one can afford to be cut off from the digital world. It has been a personal mission to ensure that the hall was delivered to specification, for the benefit of the students at the AAU. Success brings with it the duty to give back, and I am just grateful that I am now in a position to meaningfully help the next generation”.

The multipurpose hall was formally handed over to the University, at a ceremony attended by members of the University’s governing council and staff, led by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo.

Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA Group Chairman, highlighted the contribution of UBA, through its Foundation, to education and development across Africa.

The AAU Vice Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Group Chairman, noted that one of the most pressing needs of the University for 2020 had been met, and thanked UBA and Mr Elumelu.

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