The Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Alhaji Bature Umar Masari In this chat with Ayodele Samuel in Lagos, said the Federal Government plans to bring business entrepreneurship alive in rural areas through the One Local Government, One product initiative, OLOP under the newly launched National Enterprise Development Programme NADEP.
Recently President Jonathan launched the NADEP Progamme, what is the programme all about?
We realize that the development of Micro, Medium and small enterprises is the only weapon that can move Nigeria forward, it has been only weapon that move other developed country forward and Nigeria
should not be different, so the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment came up with NADEP to develop rural enterprise all over Nigeria, the programme which is domicile in SMEDAN, and has Bank of
industry and ITF as implementation agencies, NADEP is the name of the program OLOP is the main component of the NADEP, in our desire to ensure that we have intensively and seamlessly implement OLOP initiative of NADEP, we went into a pilot implementation of the program in Kano and Niger state, after which we were convinced that it is good for Nigerians. We are borrowing an idea from Japan. We were in Japan as part of our study to identify a model that we can be able to work in Nigeria, because that was what Japan used in making sure the country developed economically and otherwise. When we came back to Nigeria, we decided to re-name that program OLOP because of the huge population of Nigeria which is by far higher than that of Japan. OLOP is a program that entails the identification of products in every local government in Nigeria, in which every local government has competitive and comparative advantages.
We have been able to identify products or services in all the local government areas of all the 36 states in Nigeria, presently we have covered 22 states and we have started documenting our discoveries in
every local government in Nigeria so that the entire country can at a glance know where and how to go about enterprise creation and enterprise establishment and development all over the country in their
chosen areas of endeavor. The cooperation of Nigerians is already on the rise in every local government area in Nigeria, and then in ensuring that the program is equally implemented seamlessly, we have
written to individuals, state government and we are already in collaboration with much of our state governments. We are also reaching out to Nigerians who are well to do, to equally give back to the
society, commercial banks, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agric with a view to ensuring that all available resources are properly harnessed so that any Nigerians who wants to go into enterprise
creation and development will not have any hindrance particularly in accessing funding, because funding has been identified as being the key ingredients of the successful NADEP program.
How do you identify these products?
What I want to assure you is that our product identification is holistic, we are not leaving anything unturned, OLOP program was initiated to identified all our natural endowment in every local
government area in Nigeria and that is why we are attending strictly undertaking the product identification local government by local government without any hurry, in the last five months, we have been able to cover only 22 states. We don’t rely on previous data; we decided to embark on an independent search on local government area.
Whenever we go to any local government area, we identified stakeholders from various background, we invite them together and teach them on the program before we begin to ask questions with the
view to identify what product or what minerals do they have available in that local government area and it is the general consensus of stakeholders in that local government area that we keep a major product that are available in that local government area, we will equally emphasize the issue competitiveness and within a state and two local government have to be collaborated, we agreed with stakeholders
in the local government areas as to which products is more competitive in which local government area in Nigeria. So that there will not be duplicity in identification and distribution of product before our
intention is to ensure the modeling and creating value addition along the value chain line of the product or services that are identified in the local government areas.
After the products are identified, what assistance do you offer?
we help group the people who have liked minds in the business into cooperatives, we have gone into formation of cooperative and provision of business development services to those cooperatives so that they can be able to come up with bankable business plan which we will equally take over, we don’t allow individual cooperatives to go to BOI or any funding institutions directly, we guide them to form the
cooperative bodies, make sure that they are registered properly and formally and equally guide them on how to write bankable business plan after which we take over the business plan officially and do a letter
forwarding their business plan to the BOI, that is the stage we are in right now Our intention is to ensure that every year, we are able to form a minimum of 50,000 cooperative bodies so that will literary
translate into creating minimum of creating 1million job employment opportunities in the country, we have a target of creating a minimum of 3.5million and maximum of 5million new jobs between the time we started implementing the program and at the end of December, 2015.
What plans have you put in place to market the products?
We have begin to look inward and outside of the country, with a view to ensuring that market are identified for made in Nigeria products and in collaboration with the ministry of industry, trade and
investment, we have equally gone very far in ensuring that market that are made in Nigeria are identified far and wide all over the globe.
We have been to Singapore, I have been to the US and associating with the small business association of America and rather the feelers we are getting is very encouraging and we are equally in the process on a
project of setting a state office in Brazil and some other countries in the Asian part of the world, which they have already showing interest in patronizing made in Nigeria product.
Locally we are equally coming up with a document that will provide detailed information as to where there is market for which product.
If you are a maize producer, and have value addition entrepreneur for maize in Kaduna, we will have a document that will guide you that after coming up with your final product, you will have a market in
Abeokuta, you have market in Badagry, you have a market in Maiduguri and you have a market in Onitsha or Port-Harcourt.
We have raised our satellite all over the world, we are not limiting our search or market only to Nigeria we are operating our satellite all over the world so that we can be able to make sure we have needed
information for Nigerians entrepreneur who are ready to go into purchasing a product that are made in Nigeria and that are modeled or rather that are value addition product on made on Nigeria product all
over the country. What are you doing to ensure these initiatives are not been politicized and sustained beyond the present government.