Abuja, Nov. 2, 2023: The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on Wednesday in Abuja enjoined the Federal Government to award 25 per cent of its contracts to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
This is desirable as SMES contribute about 50 per cent of the country’s GDP and employ about 60 million people, SMEDAN’s Director-General, Mr Charles Odii, told newsmen.
“Government is the biggest spender; the biggest employer of labour. We want small businesses to benefit from contract awards.
“What that means, however, is that small businesses need to be well-equipped to be able to win government contracts.
“Ninety-six per cent of businesses in Nigeria are small businesses; so it is only 4 per cent that are big,’’ Odii noted.
The director-general said a meeting he held earlier with young legislators and small business owners aimed at getting a first-hand view of their challenges which mostly bothered on cost and funding.
He assured that SMEDAN would help small business owners to reduce cost of production.
“A lot of banks want to give funding, but they can’t give small businesses because they are not adequately structured to receive the funding.
“We shall help at least one million entrepreneurs to structure their businesses to become eligible for such funding.
“There is an EU delegation that has funds for climate and renewable energy; we launched a desk immediately on renewable energy to start attracting the funds.
“The legislators will help to advocate for right policies for small businesses to thrive,’’ he said.
The director-general said the agency was also working at ensuring that Nigerians at the grassroots became aware and benefit from government provisions.
“We shall go into the nooks and crannies of Nigeria; into the inner recesses to have this kind of dialogue to let people know.
“Government is doing a lot, but many times, people do not take advantage of the provisions.
“We are democratising access to information using the social media and life engagements like town hall meetings.
“That is why we have legislators here. They will go with the message to their people and that is how we will disseminate information to the grassroots,’’ Odii stressed.
Some legislators at the meeting pledged their support for SMEDAN’s advocacy drive to grow SMEs.
Rep. Ishaya Lalu, member representing Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency in Plateau, said: “As parliamentarians we shall support SMEDAN in terms of its budget.
“We appreciate President Bola Tinubu for appointing young people into strategic positions. The future of Nigeria is brighter now than before.’’