Osinbajo Highlights Strength of SMEs

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Raheem Akingbolu

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has restated the belief of the federal government in the capacity of small and medium scale enterprises to stimulate economic activities and provide jobs.
He made the remark as the keynote speaker at the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy, where the consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) provided access to training for over 700 SMEs during.

According to the Vice President, “The federal government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities.
“The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses especially during this current crisis.”

The plenary session at the academy with the theme: ‘SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building,’ brought senior government and private sector leaders to discuss proven strategies that could be leveraged to drive the growth and development of local SMEs as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development.

Also, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo reiterated the need to create a favorable business environment for SMEs in Nigeria.
He said: “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs the required support and trainings needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory. “We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation. We are grateful to organisations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director, P&G Nigeria, Mr. Adil Farhat highlighted the need to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria, saying they have the potential to out rightly transform the country.

Farhat added that, “in line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialisation and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains.

“For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens”.

Furthermore, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, in his presentation reiterated the importance of the SME Academy, especially during the challenging economic situation across the globe.

“The maiden edition was held in October 2019. This second edition and first virtual event has been expanded to incorporate structured trainings. This initiative has become particularly important in this era of the covid-19 pandemic and current global economic challenges, which has left many SME businesses struggling to survive now. The Bank of Industry remains committed to transforming Nigeria’s economic sector through funding, strategic partnerships and strengthening of our technology and operations.”

This year’s SME Academy also featured key stakeholders in the industry including Ms. Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; Mrs. Bola Adesola, the Senior Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank; Mrs. Tara Fela-Durotoye, the CEO of House of Tara International; and other experts on procurement, investment facilitation, and access to finance.