Dr Dikko Radda, the Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), says the future of Nigeria’s economy rests solely on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Radda, who made the observation on Tuesday in Makurdi at the inauguration of the Benue Council on MSMEs, said that small businesses remained the hope and future of the country.
He explained that the mandate of SMEDAN was to ensure and facilitate the growth of MSMEs in the country.
According to him, the agency has carried out a number of programmes which have impacted on small businesses in the country.
Radda listed such programmes as entrepreneurship development scheme, development of SMEs capacities and Conditional Grants Scheme, among others.
“As the vanguard agency for MSMEs development, it is our conviction that small businesses are the hope and future of our nation.
“The MSMEs sub-sector presents to us a true opportunity to deepen our economy, increase industrial output, reduce import dependency and free ourselves from the stranglehold of the mono-product called oil.
“As you all know, the unhelpful effects of oil, which have led to a reduction in our national earnings, prevented us from fully exploiting other natural endowments and indeed, have contributed to youth restiveness spreading like wild fire,” he said.
The director-general said that the core responsibility of the newly inaugurated state council was to coordinate all the activities of MSMEs to boost the growth of the economy.
Radda said that the council would also provide guidance on the policies and strategies that would drive the development of the MSMEs sub-sector in the state, among other functions.
While inaugurating the committee, Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue said that his government might be forced to lease or sell all of its moribund industries.
Ortom said that his administration had earlier inaugurated the state council on commercialisation and privatisation to reposition the moribund public-owned enterprises in the state.
He noted moaned that Taraku Mills, with had the capacity of producing 370 tonnes of Grand Oil and animal feeds per day, was one of the companies wasting away in the state.
According to the governor, the state government lacks the capacity to undertake commercial ventures.
He urged the council members to recommend policies that would improve the state and national economy, adding that their input was critical in building the state’s economy.
“This council is vital in harnessing the efforts of micro, small and medium enterprises as critical stakeholders in building the state economy,” he said.
Ortom said that his administration had started the process of setting-up a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency in the state.
He said that the State Executive Council had already given approval to the proposed agency, while a legislation was being awaited from the State House of Assembly to back up the venture.
The Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Merga Kachina, who is also the Chairman of the council, pledged that members of the council would strive to justify the confidence reposed in them.