• Friday, July 12, 2024
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BusinessDay

FG evolves new initiative to deepen economy, targets 5m jobs

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 The Federal Government is set to accelerate the economy through empowerment of micro-enterprises and reduction of unemployment through the establishment of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The programme, targeting about five million jobs within the next two years, is to be jointly coordinated by Bank of Industry (BoI), Small and Medium-scale Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) and Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to launch the Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) council very soon.

NEDEP funding will cost the country about N10 billion annually for three years and its finance will come from statutory allocations of the implementing agencies such as Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P), Constituency Projects Funds of the National Assembly, state and local governments, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), international development partners, private companies and individuals.

Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment, disclosed this at the stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on Monday and also said that leading 25,000 of the over 17 million enterprises in the country have been picked to assist with the funding.

Aganga further said that already commissioners responsible for this have been given presidential order to identify a product which their various states have competitive and comparative advantage for exports and which could earn foreign exchange for the country. This, he added, will be replicated at the local government level.

Besides, the office of chief economic adviser and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) are presently working on and coming out with credible data on economic indices so as to keep Nigerians abreast with progress made on regular basis.

Reinstating the importance of micro-enterprises to the development of any country, Aganga said government is discussing with Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for concessionary tariff, while also discussing with the 

  National Universities Commission (NUC) for the incorporation of enterprise studies in their curricular. This, he also disclosed would involve the establishment of enterprise societies and clubs at both tertiary and secondary education.

He reckoned that knowledge in enterprise from that level will lead to self-employment and subsequent employers of labour, as this would inculcate the culture of entrepreneurship in the youths.

He further revealed that this is the first time government is bringing the three agencies, BoI, SMEDAN, and ITF, together with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to harmonise the various policies aimed at developing micro-entrepreneurs which are critical to economic development.

 

JOHN OMACHONU & HARRISON EDEH