MSMEs Contribute 48% of Nigeria’s GDP, Says ILO 

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has disclosed that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) contribute 48 percent of Nigeria’s National Gross Domestic Product.

ILO, a specialised agency of the United Nations, has added that MSMEs account for 96 percent of businesses and 84 percent of employment in the country.

The Country Director of ILO, Vanessa Phala reeled out the figures at the opening session of the workshop on promoting decent working conditions among personal protective equipment producing MSMES held in Abuja 

She said that MSMEs are primary platforms for enterprises that play a crucial role to employment, wealth creation, and economic growth.

“Successful enterprises are at the centre of strong economies and m societies: they create employment and raise living standards. MSMEs employ; large proportion of the workforce.

“In Nigeria, SMEs contribute 48 percent of national GDP, account for 96 percent of businesses and 84 percent of employment. This sector contributes significantly to alleviating poverty and increasing job creation,” he said.

This was as Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it would train 174 Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and healthcare related products on the promotion of decent work in their operations.

General Secretary of NLC, Emma Ugboaja, represented by Mr Uche Ekwe, NLC Head of International said that the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs in contributing to the Decent Work Agenda for the development of the country.

The workshop is organised by NLC and supported by the ILO to create awareness and sensitization for Decent Work Conditions for MSMEs producing PPEs across the geo-political zones in Nigeria.

“NLC’s engagement in this is on the premise of its recognition and the fact that the MSMEs that are dominant operators in the informal economy are reputed to engage over 70 per cent of the working population, especially as it concerns women and youths.

“Therefore, promoting decent work conditions among the MSMEs will increase their functionality and make them contribute immensely to economic growth and development, ‘’he said.

He however, noted that the MSMEs had contributed immensely in the struggles to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the globe.

According to Ugboaja, the programme is aimed at improving their working conditions to better position them for productivity and make them competitive.

“It will further sensitise MSMEs workers on the role of trade unions and associations and to enhance their capacity on bringing formality to the informal economy.

“The overall objective is to support the MSMEs producing PPEs and healthcare related products to place decent work at the top of the agenda of their operations, ‘he said.

The NLC general secretary said that at the end of the workshop the participants would have gained knowledge on how MSMEs would improve on decent work in their operations.

He also said that the workshop enables the MSMEs to know the pillars of decent work which include labour rights, social protection, social dialogue and other critical labour market issues, and to advance formalisation.

He added that NLC would continue to contribute and support all efforts and activities to advance decent work and also contribute to efforts to defeat fragility and build resilience and stability of MSMEs.

Also, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms Kachollom Daju said productive employment and decent work are key to poverty reduction.

Daju noted that the ILO defined decent work as “productive work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.”

She added that increasing employment and ensuring decent work for all are essential aspects of suitable development.

She also said that the vulnerable or Informal work seems to be the norm in most of the developing countries with women and children being the most exposed.

According to Daju, to survive, these people accept to work in bad conditions, at low productivity rates, in jobs with high turnover and low incomes and combine several jobs to try to make ends meet.

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