Governor Umar Ganduje
Governor Umar Ganduje

Gov Ganduje launches SMEDAN, management board retreat in Kano

NEWS DIGEST – The Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Rudda has disclosed that the Investment Climate Reform (ICR) programme has approved the agency’s request for technical support aimed at supporting the coordination of the National Policy on MSMEs.

Dr. Radda made this disclosure in his address at the Annual Board and Management Retreat held in Kano. He said the support would also enhanced monitoring and Evaluation M and E for reporting the implementation of the policy.

He noted that the ICR facility is co funded by the European Union (EU), the Organization of African Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) as well as German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ and the British Council.

The Director General also revealed that the agency commissioned the Agency Wide Strategic Plan aimed at effectively positioning the Agency towards the attainment of its organizational goals and objectives, the strategic plan, he said would further strengthen the agency’s resolve to complement governments overarching strategy of reducing unemployment and further fast tracking ease of doing business for MSMEs in Nigeria.

Dr. Radda maintained that the MSMEs Sector remains the engine  for critical economic growth and poverty reduction globally, adding the Onus is on the Agency as facilitator, drivers and promoters of the sector to invent the required will to create the enabling environment to jump start and hasten the development and growth despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Radda said the Agency assiduously worked towards reducing the impact of the pandemic on MSMEs by implementing programmes with low hanging fruits across the country.

He said the implementation of the One Local government, One product, (OLOP) Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) National Business Skills Development Initiative (NBSDI) Market Linkage Programme, Matching Funds, Talent Hunt, Agri-Business-Development and Empowerment Programme and SMEDAN Digital Academy were highly impactful on Nigeria MSMEs,.

Dr. Radda also revealed that the ongoing MSMEs Mass Registration Programme (MMRP) would also provide a veritable platform for information and data collection towards strategic planning of programmes for the growth and development of the sector.

In her remarks the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum expressed hope that the retreat would help prioritize the interventions of the Agency to help attend to the parading shift in the MSMEs development space.

Ambassador Katagum who was represented by the Director, Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry, Alh. Babagana Alkali Said the new normal environment has led to the emergence of new and innovative enterprises, advising, that part of the resolve from the retreat should be the ability of the Agency to tweak her interventions to meet the needs of the newly emerging MSMEs.

She urged participants to use the retreat as an opportunity to evaluate the Agency’s interventions and rejigging them to be more impactful.

According to her, “The Challenge faced by MSMEs are well known and that the revised National Policy on MSMEs has clearly identified innovative ways of addressing the issues of access to finance, market, workspace and equipment skills upgrade”.

She said the outcome of the retreat should be on how to ensure that recommendation contained in the policy document are properly implemented and coordinated by engaging all identified critical parties and stakeholders.

The minister said, the development of the MSMEs sub-sector was the surest way of addressing the several agitation and security challenges across the country. Expressing hope that the retreat would come up with a new robust and implementable blueprint for MSMEs development.

Governor of Kano State Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who was represented by the Secretary to the state government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji declared the retreat open said his government considers entrepreneurship support and youth development as a top priority. To this end, he said, his government was proposing the training of 150 youth and Women on Smart Agriculture as well as training of 100 youth on digital jobs.

According to Alhaji Usman, Governor Ganduje said that one of the cardinal principles of the administration was improving the wellbeing of its citizenry through introduction of various Programmes aimed at cushioning the effects of poverty that is becoming more prevalent amongst people.

He said the state has become a trailblazer and a pacesetter among its peers whenever it comes to human development initiatives.

In his remarks, the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Hon Abdullahi Balarabe Salame commended the activities of the Agency and applauded the decision to constantly appraise itself in order to improve strategies and performance.

Hon Salame also thanked the Agency for carrying the committee and the National Assembly along in all its activities, adding this shows the essence of partnership.

He said this sort of relationship if sustained becomes easier for them to grasp what the Agency do.

Hon Salame said the focus of the years retreat was to address some challenges faced by small and medium enterprises as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was no doubt strategic adding this showed the responsiveness of the Agency to challenges that may occur during its operations.

He assured the agency of the committee’s readiness to collaborate with it in the discharge of its duties which includes the implementation of the National Policy and strategic plan.

In his remark the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo commended the efforts of SMEDAN for organizing the retreat as a forum aimed for self-assessment, evaluation and setting of new targets for the Agency towards taking it to a greater heights.

Dr. Gwarzo noted that the ministry was in the process of inaugurating a task force on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs which encompasses stakeholders in the MSME sector.

He said the aim of the task force was to identify challenges faced by the MSMEs relating to registration and acquisition of NAFDAC Certification and proffering amicable solutions for stakeholders in the sector.

The Permanent Secretary encouraged SMEDAN In its efforts in stimulating different Programmes and facilitating supports services for the MSMEs that accelerate economic development in the country.

The governor was represented by Alhaji Usman Alhaji. The secretary to the state government.