The Federal Government has commenced the process of converting the 23 Industrial Development Centres across the country into world class Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Clusters.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this during the Annual Seminar and Awards Ceremony of the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN), in Lagos, at the weekend.
Aganga bagged the Industry Correspondents’ Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the development of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria, while his Senior Special Assistant on Corporate Communications, Mrs. Yemi Kolapo, received the ‘The Most Outstanding Media Person Award for 2013/2014’.
Before now, the Industrial Development Centres were mainly incubation and capacity building centres, which were not adding the required value to industrial/MSME development.
With the approval by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to convert the IDCs to MSME Clusters, work has commenced to provide infrastructural facilities, enablers such as financing and other facilities that will make MSMEs operating in the zones to operate more cost-effectively and competitively.
All agencies that will help nuture and grow the businesses to international standards, such as the Bank of Industry, Industrial Training Fund, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SMEDAN and commercial banks, among others, are already establishing their presence in the zones.
Addressing journalists after the award ceremony, Aganga said, “The focus of this administration is achieving inclusive economic growth, and we cannot achieve that without putting emphasis on the right development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
“Globally, MSMEs have been recognised as the engine of economic growth and development. What the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is doing is to fully recognise the barriers and problems that SMEs have and then adopt a holistic institutional approach towards solving their issues.”
He added, “We know that they have issues in terms of financing, cost of operation, market access and research and technology, among others. All these are where the National Council on SMEs, which was inaugurated by the President on Thursday, will address.
“One of the ways of addressing their cost of operation is to have dedicated SME Industrial Zones across the country. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has about 23 Industrial Development Centres across the country.
Now, we have the approval of the President to convert the IDCs into Industrial Zones/MSME Clusters.”