By Emmanuella Anokam
Abuja, June 10, 2021 The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says its One Local Government, One Product (OLOP) project is being reformed to address its shortfalls to spur the sector.
Dr Dikko Radda, Director-General, SMEDAN, made the declaration on Thursday in Abuja at an OLOP Stakeholders Meeting to herald the 2021 OLOP programme.
OLOP is a flagship programme of SMEDAN which promotes the development of at least one identified product per Local Government Area (LGA) in Nigeria, by empowering the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The programme which offers 70 per cent non-interest loan and 30 per cent grant is to add value and advance such identified raw material(s) to a branded, certified product with expanded market (including export) potentials.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting which comprised micro finance banks and cooperative societies was organised to receive their input toward addressing OLOP challenges.
Radda listed challenges facing the scheme, which required urgent attention, to include untimely documentation/due-diligence by the banks and untimely disbursement of funds to the enterprises.
Others according to him are ineffective supervision and non-repayment of loan within OLOP time frame of 18 months by beneficiaries.
He also expressed dissatisfaction with some micro finance banks reportedly hoarding the fund since 2017 thereby making it difficult for the enterprises and beneficiaries.
The DG charged all the micro finance banks to put in more efforts to ensure the success of the programme as more business opportunity was being sighted for the MSMEs development.
He noted that the overall objective of the programme was to deliver upgraded capacity to selected viable cooperative societies to improve the productivity and quality of their products to achieve competitiveness and meet export standards.
He recalled that the programme, which was inaugurated by SMEDAN in 2016, had impacted and empowered 364 enterprises nationwide, with membership strength of 10, which gave direct job employment and engagement to about 3,640 persons.
He also expressed hope that the meeting would review and address the identified OLOP problems to ensure success of the programme.
Speaking with NAN, Mr Jiya Mamman, a member of IBBI Women Groundnut Farmers Cooperative in Niger State underscored the need to address the financial aspects of the OLOP scheme to enhance production.
Mamman, while commending SMEDAN on its effort in implementing the programme added that the OLOP challenges were caused by some micro finance banks not disbursing approved funds timely.
Also, Mr Charsle Adedayo, Managing Director, Umak Micro Finance Bank, Osogbo, Osun State, decried few challenges which included delay in documentation by some of the cooperatives.
“Another challenge we experience is issue of non repayment, some of them see the programme as an avenue to partake in sharing the so-called “national cake’’ and refuse to repay until they are persuaded.
“But the COVID-19 pandemic posed another serious challenge to the cooperatives; SMEDAN tried in giving them additional one year moratorium to sort themselves out,’’ he said.
SMEDAN reforms OLOP programme to spur entrepreneurial devt.
By Emmanuella Anokam