Federal Government has urged the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), to put policies in place to generate employment for unemployed Nigerian youths.
Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, made the call while declaring open a two-day SMEDAN Strategic Management Retreat in Kaduna on Friday.
According to her, the special needs of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) must be attended to, to enable businesses thrive and provide job opportunities for the nation’s huge unemployed youths.
“As a resource base, SMEDAN has what it takes to stimulate the growth and development of MSMEs in the country, as such, we are in a hurry to feel the positive effects of the agency in addressing the problem of unemployment.”
Abubakar said that the Federal Government would give the agency all the support it needed to deliver on its mandate.
She equally urged the agency to revisit the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), stressing that the programme provides a road map for the actualisation of SMEDAN mandates.
Abubakar also said that SMEDAN must develop a working synergy with public and private sector to create enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“Information sharing should also be one of your key priorities in 2016, because the business environment needs to know what services are being offered.
“This is because many start-ups fail in the first two years due to lack of information and poor knowledge of accounting, management and marketing,” she said.
Also speaking, Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State commended President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration for the efforts in propelling growth and development of MSMEs in the country.
El-Rufai, who was represented by the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Alhaji Shehu Balarabe, described MSMEs as a critical element to achieving the Nigerian Vision 2020.
He advised SMEDAN to unlock all funding opportunities available to MSMEs for maximum impact.
In a keynote address, a former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Power, Dr Andullahi Aliyu, said Nigeria was blessed with abundant raw materials.
Aliyu called on SMEDAN to collaborate with the Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC), to make raw material available to MSMEs.
“The agency should equally set up enterprises development centres in the six geopolitical zones in the country to provide strategic training to entrepreneurs to ensure sustainability,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of the agency, Dr Umaru Radda, explained that the retreat was organised to provide platform to review the agency’s operations and chart a way forward.
“The retreat was also organised to among other things align the operation of the agency to the fundamental goal of the current government, which is revamping the productive and service sector of the Nigerian economy.
“This retreat is expected to come up with creative and innovative options for financing MSMEs and enhancing the funding profile of the agency in a sustainable manner,” Radda said.