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States urged to support SMEDAN to reposition IDCs

By on March 26, 2011

The National Council on Commerce and Industry has endorsed the call on state governments and private sector operators to liaise with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to ensure effective utilisation of the Industrial Development Centres (IDCs).

The endorsement was contained in the communiqué released at the just-concluded fourth meeting of the National Council on Commerce and Industry, held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

While pledging its support towards the actualisation of some of the programmes of SMEDAN, the Council also applauded SMEDAN on the extent of work done so far in the implementation of One Local Government Area, One Product (OLOP) in Nigeria and other projects and programmes of the Agency such as the Sub-contracting and Partnership Exchange (SPX) and the sourcing of critical data for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The Council’s endorsement followed the call by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry at the Council’s meeting, Ms Josephine Yinoe Tapgun, for a concerted effort by state governments, organised private sector and stakeholders to revamp the moribund Industrial Development Centres and revitalise the MSME sub-sector.

This Council meeting is an annual event which brings together the Minister and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, all the 36 State commissioners of Commerce and Industry, heads of parastatals, agencies, organised private sector, development partners, stakeholders and members of the National Assembly to deliberate on how to re-position the Commerce and Industry sector to become the hub of economic growth and to initiate positive policies to boost the non-oil sector and  diversify the productive base of the economy.

Ms Tapgun, who delivered a keynote address as the Chairperson of the Council, hinted that the ministry had not relented in its efforts to ensure excellent performance of MSMEs as it continued to recognise their vital role in the process of industrialisation and economic growth of the nation.

To this end, according to the minister of state, SMEDAN embarked on One Local Government-One–Product (OLOP) project, an initiative that would revitalise rural communities through the development of local businesses.

The programme was designed to target the development of selected agro and agro-allied products along cluster lines. It is being jointly executed with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Also SMEDAN, in collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has embarked on Sub-contracting and Partnership Exchange (SPX), a programme designed to promote investment sub-contracting and match-making for products and enterprises in the MSME sector.

It is expected to link MSME sub-contractors to a credible global database of manufacturing companies that is beneficial to both manufacturers and buyers of goods within and outside the country.

The ministry, through SMEDAN, is striving to ensure that MSMEs surmount the challenges of poor access to affordable finance for their operations through grants from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention funds.

The chief host and Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief (Dr) Godswill Obot Akpabio, represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Patrick Ekpotu, before declaring the session open, told the gathering that all patriotic Nigerians were watching the activities of the NCCI with keen interest.

“The annual task you have set for yourselves in reviewing commerce and industrial policy as a dynamic tool for stimulating and regulating industrial development process in Nigeria rings with the dream that one day our country  could rise and live up to its appellation as the giant of Africa,” he noted.

According to Chief Akpabio, the Council’s objectives, which included exchange of ideas and information on commerce and industry; addressing the challenges facing the commerce and industry sector; enhancing industrial development; promoting commerce and creating a forum for commerce and industry policy review, were not only pathways to pulling Nigeria out of its economic doldrums, but also represented an agenda for national economic growth.

“These are great, noble and lofty goals, and they must be implemented with total honesty of purpose,  because the obstacles to our growth pose fatal threats which undermine our progress.

Source : Tribune