The Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, has assured that the agency was ever ready to assist in MSMEs development.
He said a major ingredient for development of the sector is collaboration among relevant stakeholders, including the government, policy makers and operators in the subsector.
According to him, MSMEs have largely performed below expectation as a result of poor access to finance, inadequate managerial skills, poor accounting practice, poor infrastructure, marketing problems, among others and as such, need to be positioned for growth through regular provision of support services such as training and skills acquisition.
Radda was speaking when received in audience, a delegation from Zamfara State led by the commissioner of finance, Rabiu Garba at the agency’s headquarters yesterday in Abuja.
The delegation had requested collaboration with SMEDAN in the areas of agriculture, livestock, mining and textile.
The commissioner of finance told the DG that within the last eight years, Zamfara has been volatile because of the activities of bandits but as the situation has been brought under control , it was time the state looked inwards to develop its MSMEs and revive industries that had hitherto gone under
“We want to know where opportunities exist to develop our own state.Zamfara can partner with SMEDAN in the areas of small-scale businesses. Already in the area of agriculture , we have developed three RUGA settlements and we have earmarked the settlement for the three senatorial zone.In the areas of textile, we have more than 20 tanneries but they are moribund, only about three are functional and we want the others revived and operational,” he said.
In his response, the DG assured the delegation of SMEDAN’s total support, adding that now was the right time for the state to strengthen its collaboration with the agency and key into its extensive programmes.
Specifically, he said the state would need to key into the agency’s One Local Government One Product (OLOP) and the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) initiatives of the agency.
Commenting on the CGS , Radda noted that it would graduate informal enterprises to the formal sector and create the platform for sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria. He also said it would promote the activities of micro enterprises across the country in the areas of capacity building and the delivery of post-intervention support services such as access to finance.
The SMEDAN D-G further disclosed that the eligibility of the prospective beneficiaries of the scheme is based on business registration or willingness to register their enterprises, the need for additional investment, lack of access to formal financial services, proof of address in the LGA/personal identification and above all the enterprises must have progressive economic potentials.
“The conditions are that you register your business with CAC, not even with your money because SMEDAN will do that for you. Then open bank account for the beneficiary because we do not disburse cash, and it will get them familiar with the bank processes.
“SMEDAN will be working in partnership with other stakeholders in achieving the objectives of the programme. They are banks, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs), states and local governments, insurance companies and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC),” he explained.
Other initiatives of the agency which he said the state could tap into include the National School Entrepreneurship Programme , Agriculture Entrepreneurship Development Scheme among others.