The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum says the Small and Medium Enterprises has contributed about fifty percent of the country’ s Gross Domestic Product and accounted for over eighty percent of employment in the country.
This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.
According to the statement, the Minister stated this at the 27th edition of the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Clinic, MSMEs clinics in Gombe State.
It maintains that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector is the engine of economic growth by contributing to the development, job creation and export as well as reducing levels of poverty and unemployment in the country.
The statement says that supporting small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive was essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting the nation’s economy.
That means making every effort to support MSMEs so that they can grow. This is why Government is working with stakeholders across all sectors to ensure that MSMEs have the support they need, to grow now and in the future. All this is geared towards enhancing the competitiveness and quality of services rendered by SMEs, as well as globally and regionally positioning them to compete with their counterparts both within the country and beyond”. Katagum said.
According to her, there is therefore a compelling need for every State and local government in Nigeria to identify areas of comparative advantage, particularly in agriculture and other resource endowments, and build competences for food sufficiency and export.
Amb. Mariam Katagum explained that this is particularly more pressing, considering that trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, commenced on 1st January 2021.
She said the Federal Government was fully committed to empowering Nigerians, especially in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic, adding that, the Government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs businesses.
Amb. Katagum who is the Chairperson of the Scheme said the programmes included the Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Schemes which are being managed by a Steering Committee in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment said the interventions, which have reached considerable implementation levels and received accolades and positive testimonies nationwide, have provisions for 45% female-owned businesses, as well as 5% for those with special needs. Some key tracks include: Payroll Support; General MSME Grant; Artisan/Transport Grant; and Free Business Registration”.
The Minister of State disclosed that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had recently approved the revised National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which provides the framework to resolve the challenges faced by the sector.
She explained that the aim of the review process was to ensure that the revised Policy reflects unfolding economic and social imperatives affecting MSMEs in Nigeria and aligns with international best practices in MSMEs development and expressed optimism that the implementation of the policy will set the MSMEs on the path of sustainable growth and development.
She said the Ministry had also commenced engagement with stakeholders with a view to enriching the draft National Policy on Startups, which was designed to keep pace with innovation and the new wave of digital revolution of Start-up ecosystems in the country and reposition the Nigerian Start-ups, to be major contributors to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).