By Francis Akinnodi
Ondo State Agency for Commerce, Industry and Cooperative Services has said the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) would create comparative advantage to revitalise the rural economy and entrench the industrialisation of rural areas to promote competitive trade and Investment.
Permanent Secretary of the agency, Dr. Dipo Durojaye made this known while speaking with journalists in Akure.
He said the goal can be achieved through continuous support and sustainability of existing MSMEs across local government areas in Ondo State and Nigeria to increase export potentials and facilitate the integration of Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) into the commercial value chain to increase contribution to the Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
He noted that through this development, there would be improved sustainability plan in entrepreneurship and business development training which had been implemented under the One Local Government One Product(OLOP) platform, while the access to finance components is being handled by the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Skill acquisition by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
According to him, “SMEs represented one of the most important sectors of the economy which contributes 75% of the national employment and represents 96% of the businesses in Nigeria, adding that with millions of SMEs in Nigeria, majority of them are micro enterprises in nature.
“This implies that the growth in the SME sector is directly correlated with the growth in the economy as a whole and in the levels of employment in the Nigerian economy.
“It said a well nurtured and structured MSMEs sub-sector will contribute significantly to employment generation, wealth creation, poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.”
SMEDAN and National Bureau of Statistics reported that 73.24% of the topmost priority of assistance needed by the SME operators is finance but lamented that only 4.2% of 17.2million SMEs have been able to access loans or overdrafts from financial institutions while new entrants and start-ups find it practically impossible to access funds from banks.
Meanwhile, stakeholders in Ondo State have described the programmes of Small Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in supports of small business development as not impressive.
They called on the coordinator of the agency in the state, Mr. Biodun Ayedun to be proactive and effective, adding that some of the challenges of the micro, small and medium enterprises bothers on issues of finance.
According to a business expect, Mr. Oluwadunsin Titilayo, “A vast number of SMEs have low access to affordable finance, poor access to business development services and inadequate infrastructure and high cost of doing business.
“SMEDAN should be available at all times to support the growth of businesses”, he said.