By Felix Khanoba
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has unveiled the newly approved Revised National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Unveiling the policy on Wednesday in Abuja, the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, said the document will be a major guide in repositioning the nation’s MSMEs for improved performance within the next five years.
Radda, who went down memory lane to Nigeria’s MSMEs policy of 2007, said the new document, which promises a robust access to finance, came into force after several consultations and engagements with relevant stakeholders.
He said : “You will recall that there was no strategic policy document to guide the development of MSMEs prior to the establishment of the Agency in 2003.
” Understanding this critical need, the agency assiduously worked to ensure that the first official National Policy on MSMEs was approved in 2007 with a provision for four years review.
“The first review was however carried out in 2015 to reflect the changes within the MSME space as at that time. This process for the second review actually started in 2019 but spilled over into 2020 because of so many unavoidable occurrences especially Covid-19. “
While listing some of the major changes reflected in the new policy to include the use of assets to classify MSMEs instead of turnover, Radda said the new document also split micro enterprises into two sub groups – Nano/Homestead and micro enterprises.
” The new policy also identified some key areas required sustained efforts in their development and Chief among them is Finance
“The policy objectives with regards to finance are to effectively address the challenges of financial access to create, operate and expand viable MSMEs.
” Towards achieving this, the policy recommends the need to harmonise all existing intervention schemes and create information portals for them and also to create a wholesale banking institution for MSMEs funding,” he said.
Speaking further, Radda, whose appointment as SMEDAN DG was recently renewed for another five years, said the new policy also makes provision for enhancing ease of doing business.
He expressed delight that states were fully carried along in the development of the revised policy, adding that the agency has so far inaugurated committees in 23 states committees, which will go a long way in ensuring seamless implementation.
” One principal area of intervention is the active engagement of the states in implementing this policy because we are aware that the practitioners and stakeholders are residents in the in the state.
” Consequently we are pushing the states to set up state implementations committees and to revive moribund committees in the states where they have been inaugurated but not active,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, which has the presence of representative of the Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) and others stakeholders, a director in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Bakare Adewale, commended SMEDAN for ensuring that everything that has to do with MSMEs in Nigeria was reflected in the new policy.
Bakare said the successful implementation of the policy would improve the fortunes of MSMEs in the country, even as he solicited support for SMEDAN to deliver on its mandate.