The Director-General (D-G) of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Mr Olawale Fasanya, has vowed to create a positive shift in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development narratives in Nigeria.
Fasanya made the commitment on Tuesday during an interactive session between SMEDAN, the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers and selected newsmen in Lagos.
According to Fasanya, his appointment as D-G is the first time a staff of the agency will be at the helm of affairs to drive the sustainable and inclusive development of the subsector.
He said that the agency, having existed for close to two decades, has produced four D-Gs to pilot the structured, sustainable and efficient development of MSMEs in Nigeria.
“The import of this is that expectations from stakeholders are expectedly and justifiably high to help address the problems of MSMEs in Nigeria.
“Having worked very closely with all the past D-Gs, I owe it a duty to build on the foundations laid by my predecessors so as to cause a positive shift in the MSMEs development narratives in Nigeria.
“It is in view of this that I have the rare priviledge of engaging with you to enable me share my vision for this very important but highly endangered sector of Nigeria’s economy and also get feedbacks from you.
“It may interest you to learn that I have already started engaging with the Staff of the agency and other MSME-enabling Stakeholders. It is going to be continuous both locally and internationally.
“I will be paying courtesy visits to key agencies of government and non-government stakeholders,” Fasanya said.
He said that the last report of the SMEDAN/NBS National Survey of MSMEs put the total number of enterprises in the sub-sector at well over 39 million.
He said that this number has been providing a total of over 61 million employments and about 49 per cent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria.
“As important as the sub-sector is to the national economy, it is still encumbered with several challenges which the COVID-19 pandemic and the on-going Ukraine/Russia war have further worsened,” Fasanya said.
According to him, the challenges of MSMEs usually border on access to finance, market, equipment, information, technical and entrepreneurial skills and workspace.
He said that the challenges listed above informed the establishment of SMEDAN through the SMIDA Act in 2003.
Fasanya recalled that there were programmes and projects in the agency that were carefully designed to address some of the challenges of MSMEs.
He, however, said that t has become necessary to start reviewing such based on the feedbacks that on-going engagements from the MSMEs will give us.
The D-G said that capable, competent, skilled and healthy workforce is germane in driving sustainable development in the agency under his watch.
“In this regard, I have instructed the appropriate department to put in place specific trainings to bridge identified gaps among staff.
“I have also directed that every staff of the Agency must be afforded an opportunity to check their health status at least twice a year.
“This will help in early detection of ailments that could become life threatening and with negative impacts on staff productivity,” Fasanya said.
He said that as part of revolutionising MSME operation in the country, SMEDAN has submitted a proposal to the Developing-8.
The D-8 is an international organisation specifically established development cooperation among the following countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
“This is intended to help promote, encourage, advance and support the activities of MSMEs at the national level as well as within the D-8 region to further strengthen economic, trade and commercial integration and linkages.
He said that the present location of the Agency’s headquarters has become very inadequate and not easily accessible because of the massive vehicular traffic.
He explained that the relocation, which is to begin towards the end of the year will create space for the agency’s proposed Micro Finance Bank, MSME Innovation Hub, Training Resource Centre, SMEDAN FCT office, etc.
Fasanya said that the establishment of the SMEDAN Micro Finance Bank is aimed at addressing the peculiar challenges of MSMEs with regards to access to funds.
He said that the Agency had in the time past advocated for special funding window for MSMEs but this has not been achieved even with the creation of some development banks.
Leave a Reply