The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has called upon stakeholders within the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) ecosystem to create a more supportive environment for the growth, success, and economic contribution of MSMEs.
Olawale Fasanya, the Chief Executive Officer of SMEDAN, delivered this message during a two-day MSMEs Business Summit held in Lagos, organized by the Innovation Centre for Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development in collaboration with SMEDAN.
The summit, themed “Renewing MSMEs in Nigeria: Navigating Disruption and Embracing Change in the New Digital World,” featured discussions on the state of MSMEs in Nigeria. Fasanya highlighted that a 2017 survey conducted by the agency in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nigeria had approximately 41.2 million MSMEs, a number that decreased to about 39.6 million in 2020, largely due to the impact of COVID-19, resulting in the loss of approximately three million MSMEs.
Fasanya pointed out that a significant majority, approximately 96.9 percent, of these MSMEs in 2020 fell into the categories of NANO and micro enterprises, with only a small percentage classified as small and medium-sized enterprises. He emphasized the need to elevate these micro enterprises to the small and medium-sized category to enhance their contribution to the economy and address youth unemployment issues.
Furthermore, Fasanya highlighted that while MSMEs contributed significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), there was room for growth, especially in terms of their contribution to exports. He called for greater collaboration between SMEDAN and organizations like the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to empower more MSMEs, particularly in light of Nigeria’s role in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
Stephen Aliu, the Team Leader at the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Wealth Creation, emphasized the importance of implementing best practices to foster the growth and development of MSMEs. He mentioned the need for tailored financial products, simplifying regulations, promoting financial literacy, and creating a supportive ecosystem for MSMEs to thrive.
Olajumoke Familoni, the President of ICLED, stressed the need for African businesses to prepare for the changing business landscape and embrace technological advancements and digital transformation. She highlighted the role of innovation and digitization in job creation, poverty reduction, and achieving development goals.
In summary, SMEDAN is calling for a concerted effort by stakeholders to create a conducive environment for the growth and success of MSMEs in Nigeria, with a particular focus on uplifting micro enterprises and embracing technological change.
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