James Emejo in Abuja
The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, has disclosed the federal government’s plans to convert the Idu Industrial Centre located in Abuja, to a furniture and wood enterprise cluster.
The initiative is expected to help reduce foreign exchange leakages from furniture imports.
He noted that a study was conducted to ascertain the viability of industrial centers in the country, adding that the Idu industrial layout had been selected for the pilot project for 2020 on development of industrial clusters across the country.
Radda, said the proposed furniture and wood cluster would stem import of furniture from Dubai, Turkey and other parts of the world as all the machineries would be in place to equip entrepreneurs with the best tools to manufacture what Nigerians need.
He said SMEDAN would however ensure that the cluster meet all the standards required to have a world class cluster for furniture and wood production.
He said after the pilot stage, SMEDAN would go into Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements with interested parties from the private sector to develop other industrial centres in Nigeria.
He said: “The study recommended that the one in Idu should be converted into furniture and wood cluster, which will meet the global requirement. That is what we intend to achieve in 2020.”
The SMEDAN boss said money has been budgeted for project in 2020 budget and as soon as the funds are released, the project would be implemented, stressing that President Muhammadu Buhari would be invited to launch it.
He said the project would give people working in furniture and woodwork sector of the economy a place to work, meet regulatory agencies and have modern working equipment.
He said: “The cluster will be where they will have their shops, and workshops will exist, and have independent power plant in the place so that whoever wants to do any work can go into our workshop, pay some money, do the work and go back to their shops.”