MSMEs, Backbone Of Nigeria’s Economy – UNIDO
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has said that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises account for 96 per cent of all business activities in Nigeria.
Mr Jean Bakole, UNIDO Regional Director and Representative to ECOWAS said this at the dissemination event on ‘Strengthening the Capacities of MSMEs to Produce High-quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and Healthcare-related Products’ which held in Abuja yesterday.
According to him, the MSME sector currently contributes 50 per cent of the GDP and has provided over 48 percent of all employment opportunities in the country.
He, however, regretted that in spite of their critical role in the economy, they are faced with a litany of daunting challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nonetheless, he pointed out that the capacity-building project had strengthened about 124 MSMEs in the health sector to transform into the formal sector, develop the rural economy, and create sustainable economic growth and development while providing quality PPEs and other healthcare-related products.
He said, “In the Nigerian economy, the role of the MSMEs is absolutely key. They represent almost 96 percent of the business activities in the country. They are contributing to about 50 percent of the national GDP and account for 48 percent of all employment in the country.
“Despite the critical role of the MSMEs, we have to also recognise that they are facing a number of challenges in the country including, but not limited to accessing finance and markets, infrastructure deficit, multiple taxation, technological disruptions, and regulations framework issues.
“Start-ups constitute the future of the economy globally, and Nigeria cannot be left behind.”
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In his remarks, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, noted that Nigeria is home to approximately 40 million MSMEs, saying these businesses are the backbone of the country.
He, however, stated that as broad as the range of Nigerian MSMEs is, the businesses are united in their hunger for success and impact.
“In a crisis, be aware of the dangers, but recognise the opportunities. I think that is the true essence of this programme. The COVID-19 caught the whole world unprepared and caused both human and economic tragedy. Developing countries like Nigeria were affected by both the pandemic and the challenges that came with it.
“The Federal Government is continuing to put measures in place to ensure Nigeria is fully prepared in the event of similar or even more severe unexpected challenges.
“Obviously, the government cannot do this alone. The business community plays an integral role in national preparedness. So, this programme promotes both safety and also the opportunity for economic advancement. Thus, it is a win-win proposition in the true sense of it,” the Minister said.
While presenting the project to the public, Mr Jarl Hansstein, UNIDO’s Chief Technical Officer (PPEs), explained that the capacity-building initiative had sought to strengthen the ability of selected local MSMEs/manufacturers including at least 30% women-led and 20% youth-led businesses to upgrade production processes and adopt standards and technical regulations as a reference for production of high-quality PPEs and healthcare products to meet local demand and for export to ECOWAS sub-region.
According to him, “A total of 97 enterprises have so far benefited from UNIDO’s technical assistance and training as of today, of which 94 are in production and equipment management, 97 in quality management, 70 in strategic marketing and 125 MSMEs will be benefiting from equipment supplies.”