SMEDAN to leverage D-8 region for economic integration, trade linkages
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has expressed commitment to leveraging partnerships within the D-8 to promote, encourage, advance and support the activities of MSMEs at the national level as well as within the D-8 region to further strengthen economic, trade and commercial integration and linkages.
D8, also referred to as Developing-8, is an international organisation specifically established for the development cooperation among countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
The Director-General, SMEDAN, Olawale Fasanya, stated that with a proposal for a D-8 centre already submitted, the agency is optimistic that the establishment of the D-8 Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will unleash substantial development impacts.
Fasanya has also promised to work with key stakeholders to cause a positive shift in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) development narrative in Nigeria, given its critical but highly endangered status in the economy.
Fasanya made the remark at an interactive session with the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (Gocop) and editors, where he shared his vision and approach to ensure regular inter-agency cooperation and networking with stakeholders to leverage available opportunities to close the gaps among key players within the MSME space.
Emphasising how important the sub-sector is to national economic growth and the several challenges which the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Ukraine-Russia have further worsened, Fasanya said the challenges of MSMEs usually border on access to finance, market, equipment, information, technical and entrepreneurial skills and workspace.
Reeling out his vision for the sub-sector, he said he had already started engaging with the staff of the agency and other MSMEs-enabling stakeholders, as a continuous exercise both locally and internationally.
“I will be meeting some key stakeholders in Lagos to enable me to harvest inputs directly from real MSMEs players. I am however aware that they were consulted during the process of reviewing the National Policy but the MSME space is very dynamic requiring regular engagements and feedback.”
Fasanya noted there were programmes and projects in the agency that were carefully designed to address some of the challenges of MSMEs “but it has become necessary to start reviewing such based on the feedback that this ongoing engagements from the MSMEs will give us.”
He said “part of what we hope to achieve during my tenure is to ensure that I have a capable, competent, skilled and healthy workforce. In this regard, I have instructed the appropriate department to put in place specific training to bridge identified gaps among staff.”