Government processing business plans by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs cooperatives
The Federal Government said on Friday that it was targeting the generation of over 150,000 fresh jobs for Nigerians between now and the new year through the National Enterprises Development Programme, NEDEP.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, who stated this at the launch of NEDEP and inauguration of the Bayelsa State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Council, in Yenagoa, said that his Ministry, through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, was currently processing over 1,000 business plans submitted by various Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs cooperatives across the country for funding of their activities.
The minister said that the target of government was to process about 10,000 business plans from MSME cooperatives before the end of the year.
Out of the over 1, 000 business plans so far received from MSME cooperatives societies across the country, he said Bayelsa State alone has the highest number of business plans, with each of the cooperative societies having between 10 and 15 members.
“If we are able to fund about 10, 000 of them to successfully start their own businesses before the end of the year, we would have been able to create about 150,000 jobs. So, if we are able to replicate this consistently, it means that more jobs will be created through the NEDEP,” Mr. Aganga said.
To enhance the capacity of the MSMEs to implement the NEDEP, Mr. Aganga said the Federal Government, through the Bank of Industry, BOI’s counterpart funding programme with 17 state governments, has provided a N9 billion funding pool for MSMEs nationwide.
The Bayelsa State MSME Council had representatives from the Bayelsa State Government, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN; National Agency For Food Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC; Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists, NASSI; Bank of Industry, BOI; and Industrial Training Fund, ITF, among others.
Mr. Aganga noted that the inauguration was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to reposition and grow the MSME sector as the major driver of inclusive economic growth through partnerships with state governments on job creation and wealth generation.
He said the flag off of NEDEP and inauguration of the SME Council in Bayelsa State was as a result of government’s firm belief that the MSME sector was the bedrock of inclusive economic growth, given its strategic role as the driver of job creation and wealth generation.
A recent survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, and the SMEDAN, revealed that the sector currently represents 97 per cent of the enterprises in Nigeria and employs over 32million Nigerians.
“In order to address the problem of lack of access to finance for the development of the sector, the Federal Government, through the Bank of Industry, has developed a counter-part funding scheme and currently has a partnership with 17 states, with more in the pipeline for next year,” the minister said, adding that the scheme has generated a funding pool of approximately N9 billion for MSME development.
The minister stated that the Federal Government developed the NEDEP with the objective of addressing the major challenges militating against MSME growth and development across the country, adding that the Federal Government was partnering with more state governments across the country to generate additional jobs and reduce unemployment.
NEDEP, the minister said, was a new, strategic and revolutionary way of delivering enterprise development in Nigeria, with the primary goal of revitalizing the country’s MSME sector and help create jobs in the country.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, NEDEP is being implemented by the BOI, in conjunction with SMEDAN and the Industrial Training Fund, which are agencies under the supervision of the Ministry.
Until the formal inauguration, these agencies had been working in silos and had piloted individual programmes in key states of the federation, Mr. Aganga said, adding that it was the first time in Nigeria’s history that NEDEP brought the three agencies together to scale up their efforts in all the states of the Federation and tackle enterprise development in an effective way.
The decision came after government recognised that these agencies would not achieve the desired national impact without working together.
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, who commended the Federal Government for its efforts towards developing the MSME sector in the country, said that the state administration would partner the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to create more jobs for its citizens in line with the aspirations of the present administration.
“We are happy with what Aganga is doing for the country in terms of attracting investment and developing the MSME sector. We are ready to support and partner with him to grow our economy,” he said.