Minister charges focal persons on strategies to improve MSMEs

Customers inspecting locally-manufactured shoes

The Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum has urged the newly-inaugurated Focal Persons on strategies to improve the competitiveness of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub-sector of the economy.

Katagum gave the charge when she inaugurated the Focal Persons Group for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), on Monday in Abuja.

She said the aim of the Focal Persons Group is to see to the implementation of the revised National Policy on Nano Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NMSMEs 2021–2025).

According to her, the Focal Persons are expected to develop an implementation plan for issues within its organisations, remit and ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Policy.

She said the Focal Persons also aims to track the status of the Public Private Dialogue (PPD).

She urged them to dialogue, report on progress, achievements, issues, support the implementation of M&E and report the challenges encountered either as an individual or an organisation in implementing the policy.

She said the focal persons would help create awareness on the National Policy within its organisations, adding that the focus of the policy is to create a platform or framework to collaboratively attend to some of the basic challenges of the MSMEs.

“This is why the Policy is focused on Finance, Skills development, Marketing, Technology, Research and Development Infrastructure and Cost of Doing Business, Institutional/Legal/Regulatory issues and awareness creation on MSMEs.

“These were areas that the Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) focused on both at the National and Zonal engagements.

“The National and Zonal Public-Private Dialogues (PPD) provided platforms to create awareness on the above Policy areas and also to prompt states that have not yet inaugurated their State Councils on MSMEs into action.

“It is believed that the needed connection between the national, regional and state actors in the implementation process has been established through the several PPDs,” she said.

Katagum, however, said the revised NMSMEs is very ambitious and required multi-stakeholders partnership in implementing some of the recommendations.

She said the mechanism also seeks to ensure that the various activities of the MDAs that border on the sub-sector were properly coordinated and reported.

She also said the involvement of strategic MDAs and Business Membership Organisations (BMO) in developing sector-specific action plans and nomination of Focal Persons, would certainly increase the pace of activities that would drive development of the NMSMEs sub-sector.

She commended MDAs that have realised the need to jointly develop the most critical sub-sector of the nation’s economy.

Also speaking, Acting. Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Olawale Fasanya, urged enablers to ensure that Nigeria’s MSMEs sub- sector was not just active but globally competitive.

Today demonstrates the realisation of our commitment toward the growth and development of MSMEs in Nigeria, since over 80% of our membership databases are MSMEs.

Fasanya said with 39 million MSMEs, the revised National Policy seeks to ensure MSMEs were active, innovative and globally competitive.

According to him, to ensure a minimum target is realised before the expiration of the Policy in 2025, there is the need to create an enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive and also create employment which currently stood at over 61 million.

This, he said, had pushed the sub- sector’s contributions to the current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of between 49 and 70%.

Fasanya, therefore, enjoined MDAs focal persons to foster the emergence of new MSMEs in Nigeria, especially among women and youths, and accelerate the profitable expansion of existing MSMEs along the value chain among others.

The Director-General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ABCCI), Ms Victoria Akai, also called on stakeholders and representatives of MDAs to take the responsibility seriously and ensure successful implementation of the policy.

Akai said the Chamber was collaborating with SMEDAN following the joint support received for the development of the coordination mechanism for the implementation of the policy.

“Today demonstrates the realisation of our commitment toward the growth and development of MSMEs in Nigeria, since over 80% of our membership databases are MSMEs.

“We, therefore, are committed to promoting and supporting every initiative toward the advancement of MSMEs in Nigeria,” she said. (NAN)

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