Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) can only play their catalytic role in economic development with the existence of a sustainable conducive operating environment. According to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), a major ingredient for development of the sector is collaboration among relevant stakeholders, including the government, policy makers and operators in the subsector.
SMEDAN canvassed this position at a retreat it organized in Epe, Lagos recently for its Governing Board members aimed at providing a platform to review the current modus operandi and recommend new ideas leading to the creation of an ideal operating environment for the development of MSMEs sub-sector.
The event had the theme, ‘Strategic Management Imperatives for Optimal Performance in the Emerging MSMEs Development Ecosystem.’
In his remarks, the Director-General and Chief Executive officer of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, said: “we want to proffer solutions to some of the challenges facing the MSMEs sub-sector in Nigeria. That explains why we bring members out of their comfort zones so that we can concentrate and help proffer solutions, provide board members and management opportunity to interact and learn from each other and to look into the agency proposed five years strategic plan and designed for it.”
The guest of Honour at the occasion, and Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu, said, “For us, we have positioned our MSMEs for growth through regular provision of support services such as training and skills acquisition for our artisans, youth and women-owned enterprises, financial employment through Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and marketing intervention such as sponsorship of participation at trade fairs and exhibition including the Lagos International trade fair and annual organization of our state flagship MSMEs exclusive fair which propels global visibility, productivity and profitability of our teeming MSMEs.”
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives (MCIC), Mrs. Omobolanle Ogunmola the Governor added, “We are also committed to the completion of the state light industrial park located in Imota to serve the needs of MSMEs which is about 60 percent completed, designed to support small business with amenities that would boost the productivity and profitability of MSMEs in the state.
“We will continue to focus our attention on MSMEs as the bedrock and catalyst of our economic regeneration with regards to employment generation, poverty alleviation, wealth creation, and improvement in the standard of living is no doubt the right step in the right direction potentials of all players and stakeholders in MSMEs ecosystem through the decisive top-level management is therefore a sine qua non to our national development.”
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan noted that the role of MSMEs in the economic development of the country cannot be over emphasized as the sector plays a pivotal role in stimulating economic growth and providing employment for the vulnerable groups such as women and youths.
Represented by Mr. Adewale Bakare, Director Industrial Development of the ministry, the Permanent Secretary also briefed the board on the activities of the National Council on MSMEs being the apex body that provides guidance and coordination on the establishment of strategies and policies for the development of MSMEs in the country.
He said the council has reviewed the CBN MSME development fund guidelines to enhance access, the establishment of the National Collateral Registry and the development of framework for the accreditation of Business Development Service Providers BDSPs.
Mr Akpan also stated that the council also came up with four key reform areas in addressing the challenges of MSMEs in the country and these are improving regulatory environment, easing access to finance, enabling business support services and improving access to market for MSMEs.
The Permanent Secretary however hoped that the retreat was an opportunity to re strategize on building the good foundation laid in their task as governing board members of the agency. He urged them to take advantage of the opportunity not only to enhance their capacity in the MSME space but to consciously strategize on how best they can contribute to national development.