Augustine Agwulonu

Participants at the 2019 National Stakeholders Engagement for the Review of the National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, have urged the Federal Government to create enabling environment to encourage enterprising citizens to engage in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to be economically buoyant.The One Day Workshop was held at the Glo-Ran Hotel, Owerri, Imo State; with participants drawn from across the country.
They articulated that when electricity, good road network, portable water, funds/loan without excess collateral/interest and lands are provided by government, productivity will be advanced, income and welfare improved.

The Stakeholders maintained that there is urgent need for government to adequately implement policies that will promote industrial cluster where skills would be taught to women and youths, improved facilities, innovation, technology, reduction of cost of registration of businesses, removing multiple taxation including giving much attention to rural dwellers.
They demanded that “taxes should be streamlined or reduced to enhance small scale businesses. Business friendly policies ought to be strengthened and there is need for government to reduce cost of production because some of the requirements are bureaucratic. Multiple taxation ought to be relaxed; it is a blockade to successful business”; they said.
While suggesting that capacity building should be prioritized, youths and women be trained on skills and empowered accordingly, the participants reiterated that follow-up on MSMEs is necessary to ensure effective training and certification of MSMEs.
“The Skill Acquisition Centers already established at some local government areas need to be revisited in order to ascertain what are on ground for re-validation so that people can be empowered”.

Ensuring the participants of the readiness of the Secretariat to consider their demands for possible solution to encourage the growth of MSMEs, Director, Enterprise, Development and Promotion, SMEDAN, Monday Ewans, noted that SMEDAN has been advocating for the growth of MSMEs, hinting that SMEDAN goes from state to state to mediate between regulatory agencies and MSMEs owners to reduce cost of registration to promote productivity and comfort living.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Director-General of SMEDAN, DikkoUmaruRadda, who was represented at the workshop by Mr. Wale Fasanya, Director, Policy, Planning, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, said SMEDAN has empowered many people on commerce and industry because government established SMEDAN with the core mandate to develop a structured, efficient and progressive micro, small and medium enterprises.
The Director-General who added that “460 young business owners have been provided with workspaces in Anambra, Kebbi, Kogi, Cross Rivers and Osun States in our Young Business Owners program just as 240 women have been trained and supported with equipment in our Women- in- Self- Employment programme”, said there is need for a cohesive public -private partnership in the implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs for it to be effective, harping that more states ought to come on board by initiating the process for the inauguration of their own State Council on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

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