By Cyriacus Nnaji
First Lady, and wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr lbijoke Sanwo-Olu; the Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun and other experts have stressed the importance of research and micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMES) in national productivity.
This much was gathered at the 2nd Lagos State University Research Fair which took place at the university main campus at Ojo on Tuesday, 17th November 2020.
Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu who was Chairperson of the Fair, while assuring the university of continued support by the Lagos State Government; stated that the MSMEs remained the engine room for national productivity “There are many global brands in Nigeria but they are not the engine room of national productivity. The MSMEs are. This shows there is hope for our young people to go out there with their small businesses and compete with the best. There is hope to be more creative, innovative and do research.”
She added that as part of measures to ensure productivity, the Lagos State Government launched its MSME funds designed to equip them with survival strategies against unexpected challenges thrown up by Covid 19. She added “Whatever we do to improve MSMEs in Lagos will have a multipliers effect on job creation, security, amongst others.”
She concluded by saying that the theme of the Fair was therefore a testimony of LASU’s contribution to the THEMES agenda of the state government.
On his part, Prof. Fagbohun said that the idea of having a LASU Research Fair, which was in its second edition, was conceived upon establishing that there was a dearth in getting a conducive forum within the university space where individuals with laudable research ideas could come together, ventilate, share their ideas and network with colleagues.
He recalled that the first edition themed ’Driving national development through research and innovation’ which held last year was a huge success. “We had 19 exhibitors with over 500 participants cutting across different areas such as the academia, industry, government ministries and parastatals.
“As a follow up to the maiden edition, we have decided to adopt the theme: Innovative Products and Designs for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMES). Our focus this year is on MSMEs because government is making efforts to diversify the economy by reducing its dependence on crude oil for revenue generation,” Fagbohun disclosed.
Stating the impact of MSMEs on national economies, Fagbohun said MSMEs are important agents of economic growth across the world. “In Japan for instance, 80% of the total industrial workforce is in the SMEs sector while it is 50% in Germany and 4600 in the United States of America. In some developing nations such as lndia, Indonesia and Mali, SMEs have been recognised to constitute more than 9500 of the manufacturing sector and have become a very strong engine for development in terms of provision of employment, industrial output and export promotion.
“As an institution that is responsive to the needs of its society and an incubator for research and technology, we decided to choose this theme so that we can contribute our quota to the advancement of MSMEs in Nigeria,” the VC said.
Chairman Governing Council, Prof. Adebayo Ninalowo, on his part said that if the country was serious about increasing its GDP and reducing the current unemployment rate, more emphasis must be placed on MSMEs.
“Universities are also expected to play their part, contribute to knowledge creation that will improve the lives of the citizens. I hope the papers to be presented will lead to advancement in different areas of MSME and I hope the take home will be applied by the government.
“I want to congratulate the Vice Chancellor for the creation of the Centre for Innovation and Research being spare-headed by Prof. Odusanya. The heartbeat of a university is research and innovation.
Prof. Olumuyiwa Odusanya, Director, Directorate of Research Management gives his welcome address said “Our university has taken a strong step to strengthening research culture; many of our academic have won major research grants.”
While stressing the significance of MSMEs, he asserted that the MSME sector employs over 80% of our workforce, adding “Through this research fair, our university demonstrates its commitment to solving national problems and being valued partner to the state government,” he said.
Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial studies, Prof. Martins Anathekhai described entrepreneurship as self-reliance and development of knowledge. He maintained that entrepreneurship is self-development, which could lead to self-stability and comfort, insisting that everybody must think like an entrepreneur. “Today, we should all think about knowledge based activities that can make all self-reliant.”