The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative to revitalize the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector by launching a substantial N2 billion empowerment fund. Dr. Abdulrashid Yerima, the National President of NASME, made this momentous announcement during a recent media briefing held in Abuja. In a bid to foster economic growth and bolster the capabilities of MSMEs, Yerima detailed the ‘MSME 4.0 Program and Empowerment Funds,’ specially crafted to harness the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Embracing the Digital Age
Yerima passionately emphasized the pivotal role of digital technology in enhancing the performance, market positioning, and adaptability of SMEs in an ever-changing world. He revealed that the program, operating under the theme “MSME 4.0: Enhancing Productivity, Competitiveness, Resilience, and Sustainability in an Era of Digital Transformation,” holds the promise of ushering in a new era for MSMEs and, by extension, the nation.
Acknowledging the evolving digital landscape and the imperative for MSMEs to thrive in this digital age, NASME, in partnership with a coalition of collaborators, proudly unveiled the MSME 4.0 Program and Empowerment Fund. NASME, through this initiative, has committed one billion Naira to establish a Youth Empowerment Fund and another billion Naira to initiate a Women Empowerment Fund. These funds are meticulously designed to encourage entrepreneurship, ultimately generating one million employment opportunities. This remarkable endeavor is poised to significantly contribute to the growth of our national economy.
The Power of Collaboration
Yerima further elucidated that NASME’s planned exhibition is set to harness the vast potential of the AfCFTA, promoting trade, stimulating economic development, and creating abundant opportunities for businesses across West Africa. It is a shared vision that encompasses job creation, income generation, poverty reduction, increased GDP, heightened competitiveness of MSMEs, augmented trade within the sub-region, and a fundamental transformation of West Africa’s economy.
Government Commitment to MSMEs
The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, reaffirmed the government’s unwavering commitment to supporting the growth of MSMEs in the country. Represented by the Chief Industrial Officer in the ministry, Mr. Esther Ajibola, Dr. Uzoka-Anite reiterated the significance of MSMEs and their contribution to the nation’s economic well-being. The government is keen on facilitating an enabling environment for MSMEs to flourish and make a substantial impact on the economy.
SMEDAN’s Dedication to MSMEs
Similarly, Dr. Olawale Fasanya, the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), expressed the agency’s dedication to empowering and supporting MSMEs. Represented by Mr. Monday Ewans, the Director of Enterprises Development in SMEDAN, Fasanya highlighted the need for MSMEs to embrace digital technologies and solutions that can help them navigate and overcome the various challenges they face.
He acknowledged the prevailing issues of insufficient access to finance, inadequate infrastructure, unfavorable legislation, competitiveness concerns, and a lack of managerial skills, among others. SMEDAN is committed to addressing these challenges and ensuring that MSMEs have the necessary support and resources to thrive in the dynamic business environment.
In sum, the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) is taking a proactive stance in facilitating the growth and success of MSMEs in Nigeria. Through the ‘MSME 4.0 Program and Empowerment Funds,’ NASME, in collaboration with various partners, is injecting N2 billion into youth and women empowerment initiatives, intending to create one million employment opportunities and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development. This initiative is timely, given the global shift towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the promising opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The government’s commitment, as demonstrated by the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, underlines the significance of MSMEs and the pivotal role they play in the country’s economic landscape. Moreover, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) is dedicated to offering support to MSMEs in overcoming the multitude of challenges they face, ranging from financial constraints to infrastructure issues. As the MSME sector continues to evolve and adapt to the digital age, these collaborative efforts are likely to be instrumental in driving the growth and resilience of small and medium enterprises in Nigeria.
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