The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, has disclosed plan to create five million new jobs through its National Enterprises Development Programme, NEDEP, before 2015.
Director-General of the agency, Alhaji Bature Masari, while speaking at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja recently, said with NEDEP, it would be easier to implement the One Local Government, One Product, OLOP, scheme across the country.
Masari explained that “NEDEP would cover all states of the federation and Abuja with a view to conducting survey of every product being produced in each local government as part of the strategies mapped out by SMEDAN to achieve the goal.
“Our objective is that within the few years of implementing NEDEP and other programmes to be initiated, we will generate an estimated five million direct and indirect jobs.
“I came here with a mission. My mission is to contribute immensely to the growth of MSMEs all over the country. MSMEs play the lead role in creating additional employments, wealth generation and poverty reduction”, he stressed.
The D-G added; “Part of our strategy is to create new clusters of businesses based on competitive and comparative advantages already identified through the OLOP initiative and raw materials mapping in the 774 local governments.”
Masari informed that SMEDAN, which will identify skills of each youth, would work in conjunction with the Industrial Training Fund, ITF which would train them and the Bank of Industry, BoI, for finance.
He said the pilot scheme has started in Kano and Niger states, stressing that it was developed to create jobs, generate wealth and eradicate poverty in the country.
This, he said, would be done through the micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs sector for effective skills training and acquisition as well as business services development.
“Mr. President has promised his continued support for SMEDAN and we are ready to promote the growth and development of MSMEs in the country. SMEDAN has just opened new offices in 11 states and we want to cover all states before the end of the year.
“SMEDAN is being reorganised to make it more effective. The Federal Government is planning to launch the National Council of MSMEs, comprising the federal, state and local governments to manage the economy for rapid development of the country”, he said.
According to him, “if we are going to develop our economy and turn our quantity advantage into productive advantage, one of the most important sectors that we have to focus on is the MSME sector”.
Masari, however, said the agency would embark on aggressive awareness creation about its activities, especially at the grassroots to enable the populace benefit from its programmes.