By Oluwaseun Sonde, Abuja.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that MSMEs make up over 90 per cent of all firms in the world and account for about 60 to70 per cent of total employment and 50 per cent of GDP worldwide which plays a pivotal role in stimulating economic growth and providing employment for vulnerable groups such as women, the youth and the poor.
Osinbajo made it known at the opening of the 2019 Abuja International Trade Fair organised by Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The theme of the fair is: “Remodelling SMEs Financing: Options and Solutions’’.
Represented by the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Maryam Katagum who emphasised the need for Made in Nigeria goods to compete internationally with improved quality.
He said government was working tirelessly with relevant stakeholders for improved quality, in order to compete favourably with other products in the global market.
“We believe that it is essential to support small businesses to increase productivity, create more jobs and to boost our economy.
“This is why government is working with stakeholders across all sectors to ensure that MSMEs have access to the support they need to grow for a sustainable future,’’ Osinbajo said.
He said that the trade fair would provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to network and establish linkages, that would translate into improved market access and investment.
“This has triggered the huge investment by government of Nigeria in the MSME sector to enable the sector attain the desired economic growth and development,’’ he said
Osinbajo further said that the National Council on MSMEs had demonstrated commitment to reposition the sector.
He commended the council for successful review of Central Bank of Nigeria’s MSME Development Fund guidelines to enhance access by MSMEs.
Others are the establishment of the National Collateral Registry and the development of a framework for the accreditation of Business Development Service Providers, BDSPs.
He reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to provide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, with the needed support to grow.
“Accordingly, the council has also come up with four key reform areas, toward addressing challenges faced by MSMEs in the country.
“These include improving regulatory environment, easing access to finance, enabling business support services and improving access to the market for MSMEs,’’ Osinbajo said.
The vice president added that the implementation of Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP, would provide a roadmap for industrialisation in Nigeria.
He said that the National Enterprise Development Programme, NEDEP, would coordinate enterprise development in the country by directly addressing critical factors that inhibited the growth of MSMEs in the country.
Osinbajo said a template for the seamless implementation of NEDEP was being developed by a technical committee, comprising of all the implementing agencies of the programme.
“With the rigorous implementation of the programme, NEDEP expects to create more jobs in the MSMEs sector,’’ he said.