Small and medium enterprises in Nigeria grew from 17. 3 million in 2010 to 37.1 million in 2013, an increase of about 114.45 per cent, Bature Masari, the Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), said at a Forum on Tuesday in Abuja,
The agency’s mandate, according to its enabling Act of 2003, includes initiation and articulation of policy ideas for micro, small, and medium enterprises growth and development nationwide.
He said that SMEDAN’s efforts led to the increase in the number of MSMEs employees from 32.4 million to 59.7 million during the period, representing about 84.3 per cent growth.
Masari added that MSMEs contribution to the Gross Domestic Products rose from 46.54 per cent to 48.47 percent in 2013, adding that the National Policy on MSMEs had been reviewed and upgraded to ensure a robust framework for the sub-sector.
Enumerating the agency’s feats under its One Local Government One Product Programme (OLOP), the DG explained that 55,000 cooperative societies had been formed and registered nationwide.
“As part of the value chain analysis and baseline survey, the agency selected products in all the 774 local government areas based on competitive and comparative advantages, ’’ he said.
According to him, the agency provides business development services support to Federal Government programmes for youth empowerment, leading to the “achievement of laudable results in the area of job creation and poverty alleviation’’.
He added that the services were based on the Business Support for Youth Enterprise Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN) and the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS).
“Effective access to markets for MSMEs has been created through the establishment of e-commerce platforms through the internet.’’
Masari also outlined the challenges being faced by MSMEs in Nigeria, including weak access to affordable finance, poor state of infrastructure, multiple taxes, aversion to joint ownership and lack of succession plan.
Other challenges that hindered MSMEs capacities are financial mismanagement, absence of qualifies personnel, low capacity to engage in research and documentation as well as inadequate markets for their products.
The DG called for the institution and funding of a one-month mandatory vocational and entrepreneurship training for NYSC members for job, wealth creation and poverty alleviation, to address the challenges.
“If the agency (SMEDAN) is to achieve its lofty objectives, like its other counterparts in other parts of the world, it has to be adequately funded.’’
Masari, who was appointed in 2013, also urged government to provide technological support for MSMEs, to promote ICT, research, development and innovation in addition to a workable Credit Guarantee Scheme in Nigeria.