The Investment and Technology Promotion Office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, has said that for the remaining part of the year, its focus would be on developing business incubation management system and counseling for Nigerian businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The Chief Technical Adviser, UNIDO-ITPO, Mr. Stanislaw Pigon, who disclosed this at a breakfast meeting with agencies of government in Abuja, said the aim was to foster enterprise and investment promotion across every sphere of the business strata in Nigeria.
He explained that the focus on enterprise development was borne out of the discovery that investors in the country did not have the desired skill and knowledge of enterprise development and that this had affected the country’s economic growth inertia.

The organisation said it was training professionals of various associations in the private sector, financial institutions, and governmental investment promotion institutions, so that they would, in turn, train Nigerian businesses.
Pigon disclosed that the UNIDO-ITPO was operating a three-year period of activities that would continue thereafter, based on outcomes, adding people would be trained on investment technology-related areas that were driving businesses in the 21st century.

Furthermore he explained that the country could leap-frog in economic diversification, industrial upgrading and technological innovation, to make it a more competitive brand in the African continent and the world at large, adding that UNIDO ITPO would like to transfer knowledge and introduce the best practices in preparation for the investment process.
“This way, the investment project will be presented outside Nigeria in form of attractive portfolio. But then, it is not only to train the trainers; we would also like to interact with the universities and the educational sector in general. We want the graduates to be prepared for business life,” he added.

According to Pigon, one of the reasons SMEs have problems with access to finance is because people in the immediate financial institutions don’t understand their needs.
“Again the target is moving from the entrepreneurs to those who should assist them in the proper way,” he explained.
On her part, the Head, UNIDO ITPO, Nigeria, Mrs. Adebisi Olumodimu, explained that the primary target of the capacity building programme was to support the federal government’s bid to diversify the economy.

She said the country needed to demonstrate readiness to diversify her economy and take advantage of unlimited opportunities in the non-oil sector now, especially with the dwindling prices of crude oil in the global market.
She added that the UNIDO ITPO had been engaging with the states in this regard.
“We are in Niger State talking with them on Shea Butter; we have also started a flagship programme in Sokoto; we are in Ogun State trying to develop the stone cutting cluster,” she noted.