By Joshua Olomu
Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said the federal government is committed to the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for better contribution to gross domestic product ( GDP) of the country.
She made this known in her speech at the 7th EMPRETEC Global Summit, which was held virtually on Tuesday on the theme “The role of entrepreneurship, MSMEs and Empretec in the resurgence of COVID-19” .
According to the minister, the federal government has deployed various interventions to reposition MSMEs for an increased and sustainable contribution to the national economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we all know, the MSME sector is the growth engine of any economy, contributing to its development, job creation and export, among others.
“A survey of MSMEs indicates that Nigeria’s SMEs contribute almost 50 percent of the country’s GDP and account for over 80 percent of employment. There is no doubt that the sector is essential for Nigeria’s growth, especially in reducing poverty and unemployment.
“So it has become more evident that supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs and boosting our economy.
“This is why the government is working with stakeholders from all sectors, to create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to ensure their growth now and in the future,” she said.
Katagum said the federal government is repositioning MSMEs for global competitiveness, through the effective implementation of policies and programs.
She added that the federal government, through its Economic Sustainability Committee, has rolled out specific programs aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 on MSME businesses.
According to her, the programs include the Survival Fund and Guaranteed Levy schemes, which are managed by a steering committee within the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
“The government of Nigeria had, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, initiated the MSME Clinics program as a strategy, aimed at providing support to MSMEs in the country.
“In the clinics, MSME space operators are engaged by regulators and business consultancy experts, on issues ranging from entrepreneurship, skills development, funding, quality and standards, and on how to facilitate and develop their businesses and businesses. ”
Katagum said the federal government also recently approved the revised National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which provided the framework for addressing the challenges facing the sub-sector.
She said the revised edition of the policy would ensure the sustainability of the vision and mission in the growth and development of MSMEs.
The minister explained that the policy had delineated several areas, such as finance, institutional, legal and regulatory framework, human resource development, technology, research and development, extension and support services, marketing. and infrastructure and the cost of doing business.
The Minister added that special target business categories have been identified and developed within the framework of the revised policy, which is accompanied by an action plan and the institutional framework for implementation.
“I am optimistic that the implementation of the policy will put MSMEs on a path to sustainable growth and development.
“In the same vein, my ministry has initiated a dialogue with stakeholders with a view to enriching the draft national policy on startups.
“This is designed to keep pace with innovation and the new wave of digital revolution in the start-up ecosystem in the country, and reposition Nigerian start-ups to be major contributors to the country’s GDP.” (NOPE)
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