The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru-Radda, said on Saturday that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) represented 96 per cent of business activities in the country.
Umaru-Radda said this in Bauchi at the flag-off ceremony of the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS).
Making reference to a survey conducted some time ago, he said 37 million MSME engaged 59.7 million persons, which is 84.2 per cent of labour force, contributing to 7.27 per cent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him, 90 per cent of the micro enterprises are informal and populated by people at the bottom of the pyramid, hence the introduction of Condition Grant Scheme (CGS) for micro enterprises in Nigeria.
He said that the process would enable informal enterprises metamorphos into formal sector, industrialize the nation, develop the rural economy, stem youth restiveness and unemployment as well as create sustainable economy growth and development.
The D-G said that the present move would target capacity building and post-intervention support services such as access to finance, markets, workspace and technology, among others.
He recalled that the scheme was first introduced in 2017 in 145 Local Government Areas of Katsina, Gombe, Ebonyi, Oyo, Akwa Ibom and Benue States.
According to him, 13,000 enterprises in the those areas benefited from entrepreneurship training, formalization of registration of businesses, provision of insurance and access to finance through grant of N50,000.
Umary-Radda said that the agency had decided to extend the scheme to Lagos, Bauchi and Sokoto States, targeting 6,000 beneficiaries, to encourage job creation, business formalization, improved productivity and capacity enhancement of the operators.
“The scheme would move the micro enterprises from the earlier informal to formal, create jobs, wealth and alleviate poverty in the society
“Others are enhancing competition of these enterprises towards meeting national, regional and global standards as well as improving internally generated revenue to reduce dependence on oil revenue,” he said.
He said that the agency would work in partnership with banks, office of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, business development service providers, state and local governments, insurance companies and Corporate Affairs Commission.
Governor Muhammed Abubakar of the state, while speaking at the occasion, said that the scheme would stimulate the generation of revenue in the state.
He urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the funds to be granted to them towards industrial development of the state.
One of the beneficiaries, Karimatu Aliyu, who spoke on behalf her colleagues, thanked the federal government for the gesture and promised to utilize the funds properly.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports three groundnut oil and rice processing cooperative societies in the state benefitted from the scheme, with each member receiving a cheque of N50,000.
The groups are Gugulin Gaina Women Widows Processors Cooperative Society Ltd, Misau; Nasarawa Rice Farmers Cooperative Society, Azare and Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative, Kirfi.