The Federal Government provided N3bn through the National Enterprise Development Programme for micro enterprises across all the states of the federation from January to September 2013.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said the direct micro-enterprise funding further demonstrated the commitment of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to develop enterprises at the grass roots in order to create jobs, enhance growth and ultimately reduce poverty.
Aganga spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Corporate Communications, Mrs. Yemi Kolapo, who received the ‘Star Ambassador of Nigerian Women Business Journalists’ award on the sidelines of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund meetings, in Washington, DC, United States.
He said the NEDEP provided the necessary platform for sustainable ongoing funding of the micro enterprises, adding that the programme, through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria’s business development training, also ensured the financial readiness of the micro enterprises and, thus, their ability to repay the disbursed loans.
Micro enterprises are businesses with less than 10 employees and or less than N5m in assets (excluding land and buildings). They currently represent 99.87 per cent of Nigeria’s MSME population.
According to the minister, the NEDEP is an initiative spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and its three parastatals, the Bank of Industry, SMEDAN and the Industrial Training Fund.
He said, “The Federal Government is deepening its interventions at the grass roots by implementing new initiatives in each state and local government of the federation. Over the last three months, SMEDAN has expanded its operational footprint and the agency is now present in every state of the federation, a remarkable feat within such a short period. This will enable it to provide the necessary support in an efficient manner in the different states.
“Nigeria has over 17 million MSMEs, according to a survey carried out by SMEDAN in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics, and employ over 32 million people. Most Nigerians are employed in this sector and future job growth in Nigeria, like in most developed countries, is expected to come from this sector.”