By Miriam Humbe
Director General of Small and Medium Entreprises Development Agency, (SMEDAN), Dr. Umaru Dikko Radda has said that the justification for a special entrepreneurship/vocational development intervention for the entrepreneurs at the bottom of the pyramid cannot be overemphasized based on the need to graduate informal enterprises to the formal sector, industrialize the nation, develop the rural economy, stem youth restiveness and unemployment and create the platform for sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.
In a speech at the occasion of the flag-off of the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) for microenterprises in Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos, Radda revealed that the micro enterprises sub-sector is a critical sub-sector in the Nigerian enterprise development space.
He said: “They collectively account for a majority of the enterprises in Nigeria and also account for the highest number of jobs created in the economy. The findings in the National MSMEs Survey of 2010 and 2013 revealed that micro enterprises represents 99.87% (17,261,753) and 99.80% (36,994,578) of total enterprises respectively.
“In terms of employment, the total number of persons employed by micro enterprises in 2010 was 15,641,460 (representing 90.41% of total number of employed persons). In 2013, the total number of persons employed by micro enterprises was 57,836,391 (representing 96.88% of total number of persons employed). However, it is important to note that over 90% of the micro enterprises are informal and populated by people at the bottom of the pyramid. Hence the need for the Agency to conceptualize a flagship programme referred to as Conditional Grant Scheme for micro enterprises in Nigeria”.
According to him, “this present initiative (Conditional Grant Scheme) looks to promoting the activities of micro enterprises across the country in the areas of capacity building and the delivery of post-intervention support services such as access to finance (conditional grants), markets, workspace, technology, etc”.
Recall that the pilot phase of the project was conducted in 2017 in the following six states: Katsina (34 LGAs), Gombe (11 LGAs), Ebonyi (13 LGAs), Oyo (33 LGAs), Akwa Ibom (31 LGAs) and Benue (23 LGAs), making a total of 145 LGAs.
“Considering the socio-economic impacts on the enterprises of the beneficiaries, the Agency decided to extend the programme to other states of the Federation subject to availability of project funds. Presently, the programme is scheduled to run in three states which are Lagos, Bauchi and Sokoto States”, he said.
The Agency, he added, will be working in partnership with other stakeholders in achieving the objectives of the programme. These are banks, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs), State and Local Government, Insurance Companies and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“Also, the eligibility of the prospective beneficiaries of the scheme is based on business registration or willingness to register their enterprises, the need for additional investment, lack of access to formal financial services, proof of address in the LGA/personal identification and above all the enterprises must have progressive economic potentials.
“I want to use this opportunity to assure all stakeholders that SMEDAN will continue to support you towards ensuring that we achieve the MSMEs sub-sector of our dream in the areas of job creation, wealth creation and poverty alleviation”, he said.