By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
The Federal Government has reiterated commitment to sustain partnership with private sectors and other critical stakeholders to strengthen Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in order to alleviate poverty, unemployment and other economic challenges bedeviling the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Evelyn Ngige stated this on Monday at the opening of the technical session of the 13th meeting of the National Council of Industry, Trade and Investment, (NCITI).
The meeting, which held at Ekiti State Civic and Convention centre Ado- Ekiti, with focus on “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Nigeria: The role of Stakeholders” according to Dr Ngige would afford participants to brainstorm, strategize, deliberate and recommend policies and programmes to address economic challenges facing the sector.
She expressed optimism that the outcome of the meeting would improve government efforts in not only providing enabling environment for small scale businesses but to engender industrialization through diversification and investment into non-oil commodities.
Dr Ngige, explained that her ministry would continue to expand its collaboration with governmental and non-governmental actors in economic space to foster well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths in fulfilment of the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next ten years.
This, she said had led to the review of the National policy on Micro Small and Medium enterprises to encourage the establishment of more small and medium scale enterprises across the length and breadth of the country.
Dr Ngige commended Governor Kayode Fayemi and Ekiti State Government for the impressive support given to the council and for providing a conducive environment for the hosting of its 13th National Meeting.
In his welcome remarks, the State Commissioner for Industry, trade and Investment, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, said the primary focus of the annual meeting was to proffer policies and solution to the industry, trade and investment sector and to champion a course that would transform the nation’s economy.
He highlighted some of the critical steps taken under the Fayemi led administration to enhance the development of MSMEs to include; the training of over 2500 young entrepreneurs in agribusiness with the empowerment of 200 beneficiaries to the tune of N729 million, facilitation of MSMEs survival funds to over 9000 artisans and transporters with each receiving N30 thousand naira to the total of N270 million.
Others were the registration of over 500 Cooperative societies under the “Obirin kete” Women project, the consolidation of the capital base of some viable cooperative societies with five billion naira, implementation of ease of doing business policy, disbursement of over N21 Million loan to Women via Women Loans Scheme among others.
Olumilua added that all hands must be on deck to ensure the emancipation of the country from over dependence on crude oil revenue through diversification and development of MSMEs.
Participants at the one week event include all Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries of Industry, Trade and Investment ministries from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as well as Director-General/Chief Executive Officers of Agencies under the Ministry, Stakeholders, Development Partners, Private Sector, Non-Governmental Organizations and Community Based Organizations.