By Polycarp Auta, Jos.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says it plans to establish Business Information Centres in all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the country.
Its Director-General, Mr Olawale Fasanya, said this at a stakeholders’ dialogue on the implementation of the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NSMEs) Policy on Thursday in Jos.
According to Fasanya, the scheme will enable small-scale business owners; particularly those at rural levels have access to information about SMEDAN’s programmes.
He said that the project would deepen the agency’s reach and bring its presence to bear in rural areas.
“We have a lot of programmes; there are huge funds for people to access but the problem is lack of access to the right information.
“So, part of the strategy we want to use to solve this problem is to have business information centres across all the LGAs.
“We cannot be everywhere, but we will work with states and LGAs to see how we can deepen our reach,” he said.
The director-general said that most of the programmes were geared toward the people at the grassroots, since they formed bulk of where MSMEs were located in the country.
“Most of our programmes are directed at the grassroots people, because our current survey shows that out of the 39.6 million MSMEs that we have in Nigeria, 96.7 per cent of them are in the informal sector.
“Majority of Nigerians are in that class, and we cannot afford to neglect them.
“Currently, we are giving conditional cash transfer to people at the bottom of pyramid, but lack of adequate information has been a serious issue,” he said.
On the stakeholders’ dialogue, Fasanya said that it was aimed at getting feedback and suggestions from stakeholders at the state levels, with a view to improving on the agency’s intervention.
“We are here to harvest inputs from stakeholders, which we believe will assist us to decide on impactful intervention programmes for MSMEs
“We don’t have to assume that we know it all, because it makes it better when you come out like this and hear from the stakeholders.
“Things are changing every day, so this interaction will help us to fill existing gaps, resolve some of the challenges confronting MSMEs and the best way is to hear from the stakeholders,” he said.