The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on Thursday certified 150 Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) to improve the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Hajia Mariam Katagum, at the virtual presentation in Lagos, said the certification programme for trained and practicing BDSPs was important for the continuous growth of MSMEs in the country.
Katagum, represented by Mr Adewale Bakare, Director, Industry Development, FMITI, said the Ministry was in the forefront of efforts to establish a platform for enthroning professionalism with the BDSP ecosystem in Nigeria.
She said it was agreed by the ministry and other relevant stakeholders within the MSME sub-sector in Nigeria that only certified BDSPs would be allowed to deliverer capacity building, mentorship, counselling and other forms of BDS to MSMEs in Nigeria.
She added that SMEDAN would post the names of the second batch of the certified Business Development Service Providers on its website.
Katagum stated that there would be posting of other social media handles and special advertisements in major newspapers in Nigeria for all current and potential users of BDSPs in Nigeria.
She urged certified BDSPs to use the opportunity to solve the challenges comfronting MSMEs in Nigeria.
Director-General, SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said the certification would ensure that both existing and potential BDSPs had the opportunity to prove their technical competence towards supporting MSMEs in Nigeria.
“The posting on other social media handles and special advertisements in major newspapers in Nigeria for all current and potential users of BDSPs in Nigeria to draw from will be effected as soon as possible.
“In addition, to show commitment and sincerity of purpose, the Agency will ensure that, going forward, being a certified BDSP will now be one of the criteria for bidding for capacity building programmes in the Agency,” he said.
He revealed that SMEDAN in its determination to address the challenges confronting the MSMEs in Nigeria in a holistic manner,was implementing the One Local government One Product (OLOP) initiative in one hundred and nine (109) senatorial districts in the country.
“The intervention activities under OLOP, among others, include access to workspace, equipment support, access to working capital, and capacity building,” he said.
He added that in the same vein, the agency was implementing the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) for micro enterprises in Nigeria.
“This programme is aimed at formalising a majority of the nano and micro enterprises that are mostly operating in the informal sector.
“This programme, which involves capacity building, registration of the micro enterprises with the CAC, provision of micro insurance, opening of bank accounts and provision of grants (N50,000 each) has so far been implemented in 22 States where over 40,000 entrepreneurs have been impacted,” he said.
Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Chistianah Adeyeye, said NAFDAC had created 50 per cent discount for MSME registration to encourage more participants in the profession.
Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammad Nami, represented by the Director of State, FIRS, Mr Abubakar Muhammed, commended the effort of the awardees and assured them of the service’s continuous collaboration.
He said the service had introduced a lot of polices and platforms such as 10 per cent discount for about 20 million business development services.
The Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Africa Atlantic University, Dr Peter Bamkole, commended SMEDAN for its professionalism, saying that the network would ease challenges encountered by MSMEs in Nigeria.
He urged participants and awardees to operate with due diligent, adding that they would be recertified every three years for proper checks and balances.