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FG reiterates commitment to grow MSMEs to stimulate domestic investments

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THE Federal Government  has reiterated its commitment to reposition Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector to stimulate domestic investments and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Evelyn Ngige made this known during an event to commemorate the 2023 World MSME Day.

The event was rganised by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

Ngige also expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to formulating and implementing policies, programmes and projects that would impact MSMEs.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event is with the theme “Building A Stronger Future Together’’.

Ngige, who was represented by Mr John Okpaluwa, said that prioritising the development of MSMEs was pertinent in building a better and stronger economy.

She further expressed the Federal Government’s determination to formulate policies that would create an enabling environment to stimulate domestic investments and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in all sectors of the economy.

According to her, this will make Nigeria a preferred investment destination in Africa and the world at large.

“We are all aware that Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are the mainstay of economies globally, playing a critical role in promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all.

“It is with cognizance to this, that the United Nations declared June 27 annually as MSME Day to raise awareness of their significance especially in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The theme of this year’s event has further invigorated the importance and the critical role MSMEs play in the resuscitation of the world economy, especially the developing countries like ours.

“It is against this backdrop that prioritising MSMEs development becomes pertinent in building back a better and stronger economy in view of the shocks and crises that have disrupted the global working environment for entrepreneurs, especially MSMEs.

“This is why the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed and has shown sustained interest in repositioning the sector for efficiency, growth and development,’’ Ngige said.

While highlighting the role of MSMEs to the economy, she said that 39 million MSMEs in Nigeria contribute 46.31 per cent of national GDP and 6.21 per cent of gross exports as well as employ a significant number of the populace.

According to her, the sector has continued to play a pivotal role in stimulating economic growth and providing employment to vulnerable groups such as youths, women and the poor.

“There is no doubt that the serious engagement of key private sector players in the development of policies and programmes, especially for MSMEs development further reflects the resolve by the government to make Nigerian MSMEs become globally competitive.

“While assuring you that this effort is yielding a positive outcome, I am optimistic that the collaboration with relevant stakeholders will be sustained in the implementation of the revised National policy on MSMEs and beyond,’’ she said.

Ngige said that the federal government licensing of Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) as part of efforts to provide professional support and ensure quality Business Development Services (BDS) to MSMEs,

According to her, the framework is designed to standardise the delivery of BDS to MSMEs in Nigeria by providing the mark of quality for the delivery of the BDS.

“It will as well enhance access to professional BDS by nano, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (nMSMEs) so as to maximise their potential.

“Also worthy of mention is the Nigeria Start-up Act which seeks to provide an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operations of start-ups in Nigeria.

“The Act is also expected to foster the development and growth of technology-related talent and position Nigeria’s start-up ecosystem as the leading digital technology hub in Africa,’’ Ngige said.

She said that the Federal Government launched the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (I-DICE) programme in Abuja as a major step toward upscaling entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital technology and creative industries.

“This includes film, fashion and music and will create an ecosystem that nurtures innovation, improves ease of access to affordable credit as well as a business-friendly system,’’ Ngige said.

The Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr Olawale Fasanya said that MSMEs contribute over 59 million jobs as at 2021, amounting to over 84 per cent of the total labour force in Nigeria and more than 48 per cent to nominal GDP.

While soliciting better cohesion among key players to ensure the sustainable development of the sector, Fasanya said that more support will not only make the sub-sector more sustainable but also measurable.

He further said that Nigeria is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to emerge with a better enabling environment for MSMEs to operate with the new government in place,

According to him, the government is now more focused on embarking on tangible and measurable economic diversifications, improvement of health care, education, public transport, empowerment of all women, girl-child and the youths, and combating climate change and its impacts.

“MSMEs are uniquely placed to participate and contribute to the rebound and vibrancy in these areas,’’ he said.

Fasanya assured of SMEDAN’s commitment to address the emerging challenges facing MSMEs with a view to strengthening their resilience and ability to tap into the ever-growing competitive markets.

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Kwara Assembly passed 9 bills, 20 motions in one year — Speaker

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Speaker of Kwara House of Assembly, Yakubu Danladi-Salihu, on Thursday said nine bills and 20 motions were passed by the Assembly in the last one year of its 10th legislature.

The Speaker, during the first anniversary of the 10th legislature under his leadership, said eight other bills were also undergoing legislative processes.

“They are at various stages of scaling passage in the House,” he said.

The 10th legislature of the state House was inaugurated early June 2023 after a proclamation.

The bills passed in the last one year include the Kwara State Education Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and the Revised Appropriation (2023) Bill, 2023.

Others are the Kwara State Environmental Protection Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2023; Kwara State Local Government Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2023; and Kwara State Rural Access Roads Agency Bill, 2023.

The remaining bills passed include the Kwara State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (Amendment); and State Roads Fund and Administration Bill, 2023.

The rest are the Kwara State University Teaching Hospital (Establishment) Bill, 2024 and Kwara State University of Education (Establishment) Bill, 2024.

The Speaker however said the House has been enjoying a harmonious working relationship with the other arms of government in the past one year.

He added that Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq deserves appreciation for the prompt attention accorded the resolutions of the House when transmitted to him.

Danladi-Salihu noted that the governor has allowed the independence of the three arms of government to be firmly rooted in the state.

“The cordial relationship that exists among the arms of government is paying off in the state, and we the lawmakers envisage the same hand of fellowship from Gov. AbdulRazaq in subsequent legislative years,” the Speaker said.

He stated that the House also introduced new ideas into the conduct of legislative business without sacrificing the norms for innovation.

“For the record, in the first session, the 10th Assembly has as of date at the committee of the whole house considered a total number of nine landmark reports which emanated from different standing and ad-hoc committees of the House.

“These reports which generated robust debates on the floor, and on which resolutions were made in line with transparency, equity and accountability, have significantly assisted in reshaping governance in the state,” Danladi-Salihu noted.

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Senate passes 25 bills in 1 year

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The Senate has passed 25 out of the 447 bills introduced on its floor  since the  inauguration of the 10th Senate in 2023.

Senate Leader, Mr Opeyemi Bamidele, who disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday, also said that the upper chamber adopted 115 resolutions .

He said  the 25 bills fully passed into law, comparatively, accounted for 5.24 per cent of the entire bills introduced within the timeframe.

According to him, aside from the 25 fully enacted pieces of legislation, no fewer than 275 bills (57.65 per cent) were read for the  first time within the timeframe.

“About 135 (28.32 per cent) awaiting first reading; 45 (9.43 per cent) awaiting the second reading; 43 (9.02 per cent) currently at the committee stage and three bills (0.63 per cent) were refused on different grounds.

He added that while only 13 (2.73 per cent) of the total bills originated from the executive arm, 464 (97.27 per cent) were private member bills.

“Apart from the bills, the Senate arrived at 115 resolutions, which are far-reaching in consequence; profound in their significance to our economic development and strategic to the cohesion, growth and stability of our nation.

“Each of these resolutions arose from motions of national importance, which different distinguished senators sponsored after due diligence was conducted.” he said.

According to him, the Senate also received and treated petitions from members of the public on diverse matters of grave concern within the timeframe.

“In spite of time constraint, 50 of the public petitions were successfully and satisfactorily resolved.

“The Senate equally screened and confirmed 215 nominees for different political offices at the request of President Bola Tinubu and in accordance with Section 147 (2-6) of the 1999 Constitution and other Acts of the National Assembly.

“Among others, the confirmations include key appointments into the Federal Executive Council, Board of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the leadership of the Nigeria Armed Forces, Nigeria Police Force.

“Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission,” he said .

He explained that the confirmations were key to national development and speeded up the process of forming or constituting the national government at a very critical time when the economy was struggling to stay afloat.

“National security under threat and internal cohesion was seriously gasping for fresh breath.

“Already, the first year has passed by and we have decisively addressed issues of strategic national interest with utmost priority,” he said.

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Pensioners name Gov. Yusuf as Outstanding Governor of the Year

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The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has named the Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf, the title of the most pensioner-friendly Governor of the year.

Presenting the award  to the Governor, the National chairman of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mazi Godwin Ikechuku Abumisi, expressed that it was incumbent upon the union to acknowledge the Governor due to his steadfast dedication to the welfare of pensioners in the state.

“Your Excellency, you shine brightly as a beacon of support to our members. Over the past year, you have authorised and disbursed eleven billion naira to clear the backlog of pension gratuity payments.

“This milestone is unparalleled; no other governor has accomplished such a feat within a single year since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.”

In their messages of goodwill earlier, the state chairmen of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) in Kano expressed gratitude to the Governor for his unwavering commitment to addressing the pension liabilities amounting to N43 billion left by the previous administration.

Responding to the honour, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf reiterated his unwavering dedication to supporting pensioners by the settlement of their gratuities and the timely disbursement of monthly pension allowances.

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