Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has said that Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria have contributed nearly fifty percent of the country’ s Gross Domestic Product and accounted for over eighty percent of employment. The Minister said this at the 27th edition of the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Clinic (MSMEs clinics) in Gombe State. She said that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector is the engine of economic growth by contributing to the development, job creation and export as well as reducing levels of poverty and unemployment in the country.
The latest SMEDAN/NBS MSME Survey indicates Nigeria’s SMEs contribute nearly 50 per cent of the country’s GDP and account for over 80 per cent of employment in the country. No doubt, the sector is pivotal to Nigeria’s growth including reducing poverty and unemployment levels. ”The Minister said “the MSME sector is the engine of growth of any economy, contributing to its development, job creation and export amongst others. With the above figures in mind, it is therefore very clear that supporting small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting our economy. That means making every effort to support MSMEs so that they can grow. This is why Government is working with stakeholders across all sectors to ensure that MSMEs have the support they need, to grow now and in the future. All this is geared towards enhancing the competitiveness and quality of services rendered by SMEs, as well as globally and regionally positioning them to compete with their counterparts both within the country and beyond.
“There is therefore, a compelling need for every State and local government in Nigeria to identify areas of comparative advantage, particularly in agriculture and other resource endowments, and build competences for food sufficiency and export. This is particularly more pressing, considering that trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area commenced on 1st January 2021.” She said the Federal Government was fully committed to empowering Nigerians, especially in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic, adding that, the Government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee had announced specific programmes aimed at cushioning the impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs businesses. Katagum who is the Chairperson of the Scheme said the programmes included the Survival Fund and Guaranteed Offtake Schemes which are being managed by a Steering Committee in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
She said “These interventions, which have reached considerable implementation levels and received accolades and positive testimonies nationwide, have provisions for 45 per cent female-owned businesses, as well as five per cent for those with special needs. Some key tracks include:Payroll Support; General MSME Grant; Artisan/Transport Grant; and Free Business Registration”.