Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has called on stakeholders in both the private and public sectors to synergize in order to boost the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Sector of the country.
The Vice President made the call at the 1st MSME conference in Abuja on Monday which had the theme “Solution Strategies for Resolving Tax, Regulatory, Packaging and Logistic Challenges Facing Nigerian SMEs”
While underscoring the relevance of the sector in the country, he reeled out interventions by the government and why the need for synergy at all levels was important.
“MSMEs, in general, has widely been reported to have recorded over 41 million participating enterprises, accounting for about 76 per cent of the nation’s labour force and adding about 50 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“This has amplified the worldwide belief of the role of MSMEs in stimulating economic growth and providing employment to all categories of people, including vulnerable groups, such as the youth, women and the poor.
“It is against this backdrop that the Federal Government of Nigeria has reinvigorated its commitment and interest in repositioning and investing in the sector for efficiency, growth and development.
“For a sub-sector faced with several inhibiting constraints such as poor access to finance, lack of access to local, regional and global markets, lack of access to quality skills, infrastructure, modern technology, lack of access to quality packaging, multiple taxations, logistics bottlenecks among others to have made such an impact on our national economy, only goes to reinforce our resolve to deliberately support and optimize the level of competitiveness of our MSMEs sub-sector.
“It is in that trajectory that the Federal Executive Council approved the revised MSME policy, which was the outcome of a rigorous exercise embarked upon by you, the stakeholders in the MSME ecosystem.
“The approval of this policy framework is a clear manifestation of the resolve of the Federal Government to ensure that policies and programmes towards MSME development are deliberately crafted to yield the desired output.
“The new policy has taken cognizance of innovations by entrepreneurs, harmonization of MSME categorization as well as other reforms that have taken place in the MSME space during the tenure of the previous policy.
“Council has also recently approved the Nigeria National Quality Policy. The main objective of this policy is to ensure that goods and services emanating from, imported into and traded in Nigeria are designed, manufactured, packaged, labelled and supplied in accordance with the needs, expectations and requirements of the purchaser and consumer.
“Specifically, the policy makes provision for support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to conform to national standards and comply with technical regulations, thus enhancing economic growth.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this administration will continue to explore possible interventions to cushion the effects of the economic downtime especially on small businesses, by providing palliatives to enable recovery, sustenance and improvements under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP). Some of these interventions include the N75 billion MSME Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Scheme, as well as the N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme, for non-oil exports,” Osinbajo said.