‘MSMEs Represent 96% of Business Activities in Nigeria’

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The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru-Radda, has said MSMEs represent 96 per cent of business activities in the county.

Umaru-Radda said this in Bauchi at the unveiling of the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS). Making reference to a survey, he said 37 million MSME engaged 59.7 million persons. This, he said is 84.2 per cent of labour force and contributes 7.27 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), quoted him to have said 90 per cent of the micro enterprises are informal and populated by people at the bottom of the pyramid, hence the introduction of Condition Grant Scheme (CGS) for micro enterprises in Nigeria.

He said the process would enable informal enterprises metamorphosis into formal sector, industrialise the nation, develop the rural economy, stem youth restiveness and unemployment as well as create sustainable economy growth and development.

The DG said the present move would target capacity building and post-intervention support services such as access to finance, markets, workspace and technology, among others.

He recalled that the scheme was first introduced in 2017 in 145 Local Government Areas of Katsina, Gombe, Ebonyi, Oyo, Akwa Ibom and Benue States.

According to him, 13,000 enterprises in those areas benefited from entrepreneurship training, formalisation of registration of businesses, provision of insurance and access to finance through grant of N50,000.

Umary-Radda, said the agency had decided to extend the scheme to Lagos, Bauchi and Sokoto States, targeting 6,000 beneficiaries, to encourage job creation, business formalisation, improved productivity and capacity enhancement of the operators.

“The scheme would move the micro enterprises from the earlier informal to formal, create jobs, wealth and alleviate poverty in the society

“Others are enhancing competition of these enterprises towards meeting national, regional and global standards as well as improving internally generated revenue to reduce dependence on oil revenue,” he said.

He said the agency would work in partnership with banks, office of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, business development service providers, state and local governments, insurance companies and Corporate Affairs Commission.

Governor Muhammed Abubakar of the state, while speaking at the occasion, said that the scheme would stimulate the generation of revenue in the state.

He urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds to be granted to them towards industrial development of the state.

One of the beneficiaries, Karimatu Aliyu, who spoke on behalf her colleagues, thanked the federal government for the gesture and promised to utilize the funds properly.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reported three groundnut oil and rice processing cooperative societies  in the state benefitted from the scheme, with each member receiving a cheque of N50,000.

The groups are Gugulin Gaina Women Widows Processors Cooperative Society Ltd, Misau; Nasarawa Rice Farmers Cooperative Society, Azare and Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, Kirfi.

WTO Boss Seeks End to Trade Tension

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Roberto Azevêdo, has  said the trading system must evolve if it is to have a bright future.

Azevêdo described the risks posed by the current trade tensions, which he said brought the need to address the challenges in the trading system into even sharper focus.

The WTO boss said this at a meeting with full WTO membership.

He explained: “We must do more to make the WTO faster and more responsive to members’ needs. We have achieved a lot in recent years. Since 2013 we have delivered new agreements in a variety of shapes and sizes.

“We must find ways to keep evolving if the system is to have a chance. Multilateralism will not survive if it becomes a synonym of paralysis.

“We must also tackle the impasse in the WTO Appellate Body. This situation is clearly of utmost concern and urgency. Dialogue is improving and I believe we must start thinking about all possible options at this point.

“People are looking at December as the deadline. But the reality is that the situation in December is already affecting decisions today. Members need to come up with answers and start working on all possible options now, not in December. We do not have 10 months to play with.”

He added: “Looking across all of these issues, I cannot think of a moment when the systemic threats have been greater. But I also believe that we have a political window to act.

“It could be said that one positive aspect of the current trade tensions is that it has encouraged members to speak up in support of the multilateral trading system – and for multilateralism more broadly.

“And I am very grateful for this support. It is our duty to remind the world at every opportunity how much multilateral cooperation matters – and, importantly, how much our organization matters.”

The Director-General also reviewed progress on various issues under discussion at the WTO. He noted the progress that was being made in the negotiations on tackling fisheries subsidies, which would deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 14.6, and called on members to be ready to engage at the political level in order to deliver an agreement within the 2019 deadline.