The Federal Government on Monday pledged increased support for Micro Small and Medium scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country to fight unemployment and spur economic growth.
Mr Niyi Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, made the pledge on Monday in Abuja, during a Capacity Building Training for MSMEs.
The training was organised by Quantum Mechanics Limited in conjunction with the ministry.
Adebayo said that his ministry would continue to do everything possible to see to the growth of MSMEs in the country.
He said that the Bank of Industry had committed N1.3billion to support the sector, adding that additional 1.3million jobs would be created across the country.
The minister said that the fund would support the growth of MSMSEs and artisans.
Also speaking at the programme, Mr Michael Olugbemi, a development Consultant, emphasised the importance of MSMEs to economic growth and job creation.
Olugbemi, who delivered a paper titled, “MSMEs; Beyond Survival” urged small businesses to look beyond surviving and make plans for sustainable growth.
He said that the Federal Government’s support of such small businesses at the outbreak of COVID-19 underscored their importance to the economy.
“On the outbreak of the pandemic, the Federal Government set up a committee to work out economic stimulus package for the country.
“The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment was charged with developing a package for the MSMEs.
“MSMEs are the backbone of every economy, so, it makes sense if the government is worried if they are not well positioned.
“They contribute about 48 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing about 60 million people, accounting for 80 per cent of employment and 7.5 per cent of total exports,’’ he said.
Olugbemi commended the Federal Government for its various support initiatives to ensure the survival of small businesses and urged the business owners to design strategies for growth and increased employment.
He said that Nigeria’s fast growing population needed thriving micro, small and medium scale businesses to create millions of jobs and reduce unemployment.
“The MSMEs have survived the pandemic, what is the next step?
“They should now design strategies to grow. Survival is not sufficient for Nigeria to be able to mop up the massive demographic onslaught that we have right now,” he said.