UN Pledges to Work with Nigeria to Boost SMEs Growth


Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

The Investment and Technology Promotion Office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO-ITPO) has vowed to work with Africa, and indeed Nigeria, to realise the projected growth of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).

According to the organisation, the increase in global demand for Nigerian products was a pointer to Nigeria’s potential to contribute significantly to global economic development.

Head, UNIDO ITPO Nigeria, Mrs. Adebisi Olumodimu, gave the assurance at the closing ceremony of a four-day intensive training programme organised by UNIDO-ITPO Nigeria for three federal government agencies. She said a strong team had been developed to strengthen the training potential of the agencies toward improving their mandate delivery.

Olumodimu said: “UNIDO ITPO Nigeria has just finished the training of experts which it will use in its training tasks ahead”, adding, the team had been able to evolve the needed strategies to address challenges associated with entrepreneurial development in Nigeria.

She added: “As a team, the collaborators have analysed the Nigerian business climate, and we have also imbibed the spirit of enterprise so that we will train entrepreneurs in the interest of ensuring that their businesses thrive despite challenges,” she noted.

“I have no doubt that we will achieve our set goal of making conglomerates of entrepreneurs by strengthening SMEs and placing them on the path of growth.”

According to her, the beneficiary agencies are the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council.

She charged the agencies to maximise the opportunities afforded them by the training, stating that they must leave no stone unturned in applying newly devised strategies to their operations as regards development of entrepreneurs.

The Director-General, NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhameed, thanked the UNIDO ITPO Nigeria for the platform and assured stakeholders that NIRSAL would sustain the inter-agency collaboration established by ITPO Nigeria for the development of SMEs in the country.

“We are going to work with our partners in NIPC and NOTAP. We will identify realistic projects in the agricultural value chain that have to do with youth and we will apply the training we got here,” he added.

The Coordinator, ARCEIT Programme, UNIDO ITPO, Bahrain, Mr. Afif Barhoumi, said the end of the Train the Trainers was the beginning of a shift from theory to practice.
“Now that the intensive training has ended, there will be a practice of what has been learnt in theory,” he said.

Corroborating Olumodimu’s position, Afif said: “The training has shown that we have a very formidable team, and we are very sure that we will achieve the set task. The next thing is to deploy the shared knowledge and new partnerships to the development of entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
“UNIDO is very willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that entrepreneurs in Nigeria succeed; we cannot do this by ourselves, but we have been able to raise a strong team that will do that. We have developed real partnerships across the sectors that will work to develop entrepreneurs in Nigeria.”