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SMEDAN, IOM seek closer tie on SMEs development

By on February 17, 2013

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and the Swiss Government-backed International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have fortified their existing collaboration by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the rehabilitation of Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVRs), trafficked persons and other migrant beneficiaries of IOM programmes in Nigeria.

IOM’s Chief of Mission, Mr. Martin Ocaga, signed on behalf of the Organisation, while the Director-General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Muhammad Nadada Umar, signed on behalf of SMEDAN at a ceremony held at SMEDAN Headquarters in Abuja.

Ocaga noted that IOM is an organisation that is committed to assisting in meeting the operational challenges of migration, encourages social and economic development through migration, and works towards effective respect of human rights and well-being of migrants.

Both Organisations agreed that the activities and programmes relating to MSME development and reintegration and rehabilitation of Assisted Voluntary Returnees (AVRs), trafficked persons and other migrant beneficiaries of IOM shall be coordinated to the extent possible to achieve maximum co-operation. The two bodies shall also endeavour to respond favourably to requests for co-operation in accordance with procedures to be mutually agreed upon.

SMEDAN and IOM, under the Article of Exchange of Information and Documentation, agreed to exchange MSME Business Training information and documentation on matters of common interest.

They also agree to share information and documentation relating to specific MSME Business Training projects or programmes so as to attain better complementary action and effective co-ordination between the two organisations.

On Technical Co-operation, SMEDAN is obliged to contribute to MSME business training activities of the AVR programmes or counter trafficking interventions.

SMEDAN also agreed to provide IOM with a comprehensive report for business training carried out for the AVRs pursuant to this collaboration.

Director-General of SMEDAN, Alhaji Mohammad Nadada Umar, said, “This is one of the most important Memoranda of Understanding we have ever signed, as this will help us accomplish one of our Mandates (Programmes) – Enterprise Development, which is designed to provide entrepreneurial education and training for business plan development, marketing, Account/Book-keeping, to enhance the competitiveness of MSMEs. SMEDAN will be charged with the responsibility of training the AVRs, trafficked persons and other migrant beneficiaries of IOM programmes in Nigeria. This is a project charged with great expectations, and it is in the spirit of achieving these expectations, together, that we envisioned our co-operation for the achievement of this major endeavour.”

IOM Chief of Mission, Mr. Martin Ocaga, said, IOM has been in Nigeria since the year 2000, operating under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the Nigerian Immigration Services, National Agency for Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), amongst others. This co-operation with Government and Stakeholders has contributed immensely to a better life of people of Nigeria.

Head of Programmes, IOM, Chinwe Okaro, expressed her gratitude to SMEDAN for signing the MOU with the Organisation, and for supporting the IOM in seeing that Nigerian migrants are returned in a safe and dignified manner.


[Daily Independent]