By Miriam Humbe
The Federal Government through the Permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan has said that the present administration was committed to the development and growth of the Micro, Smalll and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) as an engine of economic development in Nigeria.
Akpan stated this in his opening remarks at the Technical Session of the 11th Meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment with the theme “The role of Small and Medium Businesses in Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria: The Way Forward” holding at Uyo AkwaIbom state.
He said the theme for this year’s Council was apt and in tandem with the commitment of President Buhari’s led administration to address critical economic challenges confronting the country and the set target of lifting one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next years.
“The Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment whose vision is to promote economic growth create jobs and generate wealth is pursuing the mandate of boosting the development of micro small and medium enterprises as engine of economic development in Nigeria “. Mr. Edet noted that “The Small and Medium Scale Enterprises as an engine of growth contributes almost half of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In realisation of this positive impact government has put in place various measures towards strengthening Small and Medium Businesses as bedrock of industrialisation , job creation and poverty alleviation in Nigeria”.
The Permanent Secretary stated that some of the strategic measures that Government has put in place to strengthen MSMEs development in Nigeria included sustained efforts to build capacity; increased access to finance and eliminating of bottlenecks in the conduct of businesses.
He stated that the key interventions in the MSMEs subsector included, National Policy on MSMEs; Promotion and facilitation of the Development of One Local Government , One Product ( OLOP) for MSMEs; National Enterprise Development Programme; Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS); Industrial Development Centres; African Development Bank Initiative and National Industrial Skills Development Programme ( NISDP) among others.
In his welcome address the Commissioner, Akwa Ibom Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Prince Ukpong Akpabio stated that the Akwa Ibom state government under his Completion Agenda Programmme was desirous of raising at least 30,000 viable Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) before 2023.
He pointed out that healthy SMEs possessed the competence to create wealth, a middle class with redistributionable income and promote the sustainable economic growth, transformation and prosperity of the country.
Akpabio said the Governor had recently approved IBOM 3000 project as an operational scheme to identify and train 3000 SME beneficiaries drawn across the 3 senatorial districts of the state.
It would be recalled that the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment is the highest policy advisory body in the sector under the chairmanship of the Minister to congregate, brainstorm, strategize and formulate policies and programmes aimed at addressing different challenges facing Industry, Trade and Investment in the country.