By Joshua Olomu
Abuja, April 20, 2021 Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, says the Federal Government was committed to the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for enhanced contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She made this known in her speech at the 7th EMPRETEC Global Summit, held virtually, on Tuesday, with the theme “The Role of Entrepreneurship, MSME and Empretec in post COVID-19 Resurgence.”
According to the minister, the Federal Government had rolled out various interventions to reposition MSMEs for increased and sustained contribution to the national economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we are all aware, the MSME sector is the engine of growth of any economy, contributing to its development, job creation and export, amongst others.
“An MSMEs survey indicates that Nigeria’s SMEs contribute nearly 50 percent of the country’s GDP and account for over 80 percent of employment. No doubt, the sector is pivotal to Nigeria’s growth, including reducing poverty and unemployment levels.
“It has, therefore, become more apparent that supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting our economy.
“This is why Government is working with stakeholders across all sectors, to create the enabling environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to ensure that they grow now and into the future,” she said.
Katagum said that the Federal Government was repositioning the MSMEs for global competitiveness, through effective implementation of policies and programmes.
She added that the Federal Government, through its Economic Sustainability Committee, had rolled out specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSMEs businesses.
According to her, the programmes include, the Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-take Schemes, which are managed by a Steering Committee in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
“The Government of Nigeria had, prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, initiated the MSMEs Clinics’ scheme as a strategy, aimed at providing support for the MSMEs in the country.
“At the clinics, operators in the MSMEs space are engaged by regulators and business advisory experts, on issues ranging from entrepreneurship, skill development, finance, quality & standards, and on how to facilitate and grow their businesses and enterprises.”
Katagum said that the Federal Government had also recently approved the revised National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which provided the framework for the resolution of the challenges faced by the sub-sector.
She said that the revised edition of the policy would guarantee sustainability of the vision and mission in the growth and development of MSMEs.
The minister explained that the policy had delineated several areas, such as finance, institutional, legal and regulatory framework, human resources development, technology, research and development, extension and support services, marketing and infrastructure and cost of doing businesses.
The minister added that special target enterprise categories were identified and elaborated under the revised policy, that comes with an Action Plan and the institutional framework for implementation.
“I am optimistic that the implementation of the policy will set the MSMEs on the path of sustainable growth and development.
“In the same vein, my ministry has commenced engagement with stakeholders with a view to enrich the draft National Policy on Startups.
“This is designed to keep pace with innovation and the new wave of digital revolution in the Start-up ecosystem in the country, and reposition Nigerian Start-ups to be major contributors to the nation’s GDP.”