President Goodluck Jonathan on Tues¬day announced plans by the Federal Government to set up a National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Council and the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan Presidential Advisory Group.
Both bodies, he said, will constitute part of the insti¬tutional framework which will monitor and provide guidance for the implemen¬tation of the Federal Gov¬ernment new industrial revolution policies.
The president stated this while launching the Nige¬rian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDP) geared towards enhancing the country’s industrialisation objectives at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He announced that the Nigerian Industrial Revolu¬tion Plan Presidential Advi¬sory Group will meet with him periodically, while Vice President Namadi Sambo will chair the National Mi¬cro, Small and Medium En¬terprise Council.
The president while high¬lighting various measures put in place to ensure that Nigeria attains the much needed industrial revolu-tion, noted that government has in the last five months decentralised the activities of SMEDAN and created office in the 36 states of the federation, adding that “they have identified and are sup¬porting at least one product in all the 774 LGAs in the country based on their com¬petitive advantage”.
He also announced that government has formed over 10, 000 SMEs coop¬eratives and registered same with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to enable them have access to better financing.
“In over twelve months, the Bank of Industry has disbursed over N10 billion to the smallest and most fragile businesses at the bottom of the pyramid.
“As we look ahead of the future, sustainability and effectiveness is the principle that will guide our action”.
He, therefore, declared that in order to sustain these plans, he “will soon inau¬gurate the National Micro, Small and Medium Enter-prise Council which will be chaired by the vice presi¬dent, furthermore, a Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan Presidential Advisory Group which will meet with me periodically will also be established”.
He had earlier disclosed that a survey conducted in 2010 by SMEDAN and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Nigeria has 17 million Small and Medium scale Enterprises employing over 32 million people, adding that “if each of these enterprises in Ni¬geria employ just an addi¬tional one person, we will create additional 17 million jobs and unemployment in Nigeria will be drastically reduced.
“That survey was con¬ducted three years ago and today we have over 17 mil¬lion SMEs in Nigeria with potentials for even greater impact on the economy”.
He noted that the SME is at the center of the nation’s economic policy, saying there are plans to take this model of national enterprise develop¬ment to the 774 local govern¬ment areas in the country.
According to him, this new policy is expected to fully unlock the potential of the Nigeria’s Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises sector by resolving many of the problems that most businesses face such as ac¬cess to finance, market, busi¬ness development, technical skills, insufficient market information, among others.
“Under this programme, enterprise zones will be created in every state of the federation, equipped with infrastructure for small businesses to thrive and transform Nigeria through employment generation, economic linkages and rural industrialisation”.
“The integrated approach being pursued under the Nigeria industrial revolution and the NEDEP, which al¬lows for better coordination, synergy, effectiveness and more efficient utilisation of resources, will effectively transform the Nigerian economy”.
He further announced that the nation has made ap¬preciable progress towards meeting these objectives since the country started implementing the two pro¬grammes twelve months ago.
“Through NIRP, we have significantly cut the cost of business incorporation in Nigeria, we have mobilised new investments. In the sugar sector, we have seen $3 billion.”