Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga
•Targets 3.5m jobs by 2013
The Federal Government yesterday disclosed plans to launch a new policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The proposed draft policy document - the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) - is expected to be formally inaugurated by the presidency after inputs by various stakeholders have been accommodated.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said the programme, which is aimed at creating a more robust and stronger SMEs sector is estimated to cost N10 billion annually and targets to create about 3.5 million direct jobs in 2013 as well as 5 million indirect jobs by 2015.
Speaking in Abuja at a stakeholders' meeting on the NEDEP being spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Bank of Industry (BoI), in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Industrial Training Fund, the minister said NEDEP was the solution to the currently loose and uncoordinated relationships among the various SMEs initiatives in the country.
He said the programme would be funded from statutory allocations of implementing agencies, the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) when approved, as well as contributions by state governments and Development Partners and individuals.
The minister also revealed plans to set up a SMEs’ Council, which would be made up of government and the private sector, to coordinate the efforts of existing initiatives and also to make them more purposeful and relevant.
Describing the proposed policy as a critical step towards reviving the industrial sector, he said it would be the first time three key institutions including the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), BoI and SMEDAN would be collaborating to boost SMEs’ development in the country. Aganga said NEDEP would provide the requisite business skills, training and affordable financing and market access to the Nigerian unemployed youths.
He maintained that the SMEs sector is critical to the federal government’s Transformation Agenda, adding that it has the capability to significantly boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister added that the new policy would help address the lopsidedness of current location of SMEs, which according to him, are mainly concentrated in Kano and Lagos States. Already, he said the president had directed all states to identify their key area of comparative advantage in order to make them focus on their competences and boost export products.