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Why SMEDAN’s committed to job and wealth creation, poverty alleviation, food security, improved entrepreneurship training, by Fasanya

By Guardian Nigeria
25 September 2022   |   3:00 am
On 6th June, 2022, Mr Olawale Tunde Fasanya was appointed as the new Director General, Chief Executive Officer of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.


OLAWALE TUNDE FASANYA: Seasoned Technocrat, Strategic Policy Planner, Turning the Tide At SMEDAN

On 6th June, 2022, Mr Olawale Tunde Fasanya was appointed as the new Director General, Chief Executive Officer of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

Without a doubt, Mr Olawale Fasanya has seen it all in SMEDAN – an establishment whose concept and growth witnessed his inputs. It is therefore not a surprise that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Buhari found in him a good replacement for Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, who served the Agency for six years as DG/CEO.

While speaking on why he chose the University of Ile-Ife (now Oabfemi Awolowo University), Mr. Fasanya said “I was at the then Oyo State College of Arts and Science (OSCAS), Ife and most times I normally go to the university campus. That was how I got attracted to the environment where I was able to mix freely with other students there. Therefore, when I eventually got my admission into the institution, it was a dream come true. Honestly, it was one decision that I have never regretted.

More so, University of lfe has a culture whereby students interact freely and everything starts and ends within the university. That is, unlike some other universities where you have to go to town to acquire side attractions or other knowledge but in Ife, you get everything on campus. Truly, this attribute has really shaped my life endeavours, career, and still in use up till we speak. I make friends easily, interact easily which are the hallmarks of my experience in the institution. More importantly, the discipline at Ife has also assisted me and take me to wherever I am today.”

Concerning the steps being taken by his agency to improve the development of small and medium enterprises in Nigeria, the SMEDAN’s helmsman noted that “The major impediments to vocational training in Nigeria has to do with the orientation of our youths and even parents as most of them still believe that their children must acquire university or polytechnic education before they can make a difference in life. People hardly see that learning a vocation can actually earn someone a living. However, in my view the idea is changing as many people now realise the need acquire one vocation or another. That is why nowadays, graduates of the university now learning sewing, tiling, hairdressing, amongst others, simply because the jobs are not there. I can safely say that the orientation is changing and this where government has to create more enabling environment for vocational training centres across the federation to add up to the existing ones in order to encourage more youths to learn a skill or two.

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are globally acknowledged as the oil required for lubricating the engine of socio-economic transformation of any nation. The MSME sector is strategically positioned to absorb up to 80% of jobs, improve per capita income, increase value addition to raw materials supply, improve export earnings and step up capacity utilisation in key industries.

The sector is structured across other key sectors, including Agriculture, Mining and Quarrying, Building and Construction, Manufacturing, Solid Minerals, etc, and thus has strong linkages with the entire range of economic activities in the country, They play a pivotal role through several pathways that go beyond job creation. They are growth-supporting sectors that not only contribute significantly to improve living standards, but also bring substantial local capital formation and are responsible for driving innovation and competition in developing economies. Governments at all levels have undertaken initiatives to promote the growth International Journal of Innovative Development & Policy Studies and development of MSMEs. The general perspective is that MSMEs are seen as accelerating the attainment of broad socio-economic objectives, including poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation, among others.

Meanwhile, for us at SMEDAN, we are more concerned about how you can run your vocation as a business. That is, even after acquiring a vocation, how do you run it successfully as a business and that is where we step in. My analogy is that the world has gone beyond the era of “teach me how to fish”, what is more important now is “what do you do with the fish”?
The Agency is also saddled with the responsibility of contributing to the attainment of every policy of the Federal government of Nigeria and the Cluster Development Approach of the Ministry of Trade and Investment.

SMEDAN’s activities are geared towards building capacity for people to run their business profitably. You can be a graduate of Medicine or a qualified doctor does not mean you can run a hospital, profitably and sustainably. SMEDAN provide the support to put young and old entrepreneurs on a right path to success and by extension grow the nation’s economy.

As part of its unwavering commitment to job creation, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and food security and entrepreneurship training in Nigeria, recently, SMEDAN, in partnership with the Prisons Fellowship of Nigeria, the Nigerian Correctional Service and the Covenant University organized a training programme which culminated in the graduation and matriculation ceremony of the inmates of the medium security prisons in Kirikiri, Apapa, Lagos.

In his address at the occasion, Fasanya stressed that “A society that is crime free and peaceful has the potential to induce the emergence of a stable environment that will drive prosperity. It is therefore imperative that crime is tackled as a precursor to economic prosperity.

There can be many different causes of crime. It is a constant endeavor of the government at different levels and security organizations in the country to bring down crime rates but various factors encourage it directly and indirectly. These include but not limited to: poverty, family condition, peer pressure, society, drugs, unemployment, politics, deprivation, regionalism, religion and unfair judicial system.”

According to him “Crime is a major part of every society. Its costs and effects touch just about everyone to some degree. The types of costs and effects are widely varied. In addition, some costs are short-term while others last a lifetime. Of course, the ultimate cost is loss of life. Other costs to victims can include medical costs, property losses, and loss of income.
In order to reduce crime in our society, it is very important to address those issues that will help prevent the occurrence of crimes. Creating an enabling environment for promoting reconciliation, financial independency, productivity, employment, developing and promoting the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector, will go a long way in reducing crimes in our society.”

He maintained that “As you are probably aware, the MSMEs are crucial to the economic development of the country and contribute towards national employment and therefore have the potential to drastically reduce unemployment, poverty and ultimately crime in our society if they are properly nurtured and developed. Interestingly, MSMEs are considered very relevant in the achievement of Nigeria’s flagship medium-term Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) represent one of the most important sectors of our economy. Of the 39.6 million NMSMEs (as at 31st December, 2020) in Nigeria that employs over 62.5 million people (80.2% of the national labour force) and contributes about 46.31% to the GDP and 6.21% to exports, about 38.4 million are micro-enterprises (96.9%). Thus, growth in this sector is directly correlated with growth in the economy as a whole and in the level of employment throughout Nigeria. One of the most critical challenges confronting us as a nation is how to ensure that our strong macro-economic performances translate to improvements in the living standards of our citizens and growth in the MSMEs sub-sector.”

Speaking further, Fasanya disclosed that “In an effort to ensure a credible access to more affordable finance for MSMEs in Nigeria, the Agency is partnering with an NGO, the African Centre for Global Entrepreneurial Leadership (ACGEL) to implement the Leadership Entrepreneurial Game Show (LEGS) where successful participants will be given N5,000,000.00 (Five million naira only) worth of grants and tools. The game show is on-going now and all existing and potential entrepreneurs are encouraged to log into for free registration. You may be the next lucky winner.

The Agency is also partnering with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Jaiz Bank and Sterling Bank to implement the Matching Fund Programme for Micro and Small Enterprises towards increasing access to finance. This intervention is delivering credit, as a promotional mechanism to enhance enterprise output, competitiveness and job creation. Prospective beneficiaries can have access to loans between N2.1 million and N5.0 million. This programme had been executed in the following States: FCT, Kaduna, Oyo, Plateau, Kano, Imo and Edo and are set for disbursement at the moment. While enterprises from Katsina, Kogi, Nasarawa,
Niger, Jigawa, Bauchi and Adamawa States have submitted their business plans and awaiting processing.

Very soon, the programme will commence in Ondo, Osun, Lagos, Cross River, Anambra, Delta and Enugu States. The portal for the application will open by the end of August, 2022. All suitably qualified MSEs in the agribusiness sub-sector are to apply via the SMEDAN website by clicking SMEDAN/STERLING matching fund programme icon. Those of you that will go into agribusiness can also benefit from this initiative.

Born on 3rd June, 1962 in Ogbomosho, Osun State, South-West Nigeria, Mr. Olawale Tunde Fasanya holds a Bachelor of Art degree in English and Literary Studies from the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in 1985.
He did his mandatory National Youth Service with the Plateau Radio Television Corporation (PRTC) Jos, where he produced and presented a weekly Radio Programme called Plateau State Roundup between 1985 and June, 1986.

A lover of knowledge and academic pursuit, Fasanya also parades a legion of other qualifications including an Advanced Certificate in Public Relations, Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba Lagos, 1990, Masters in Public Administration, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Lagos, 1994, Diploma In Market Oriented Small Business Development Service, International Training Centre of International Labour Organisation (ILO), Turin, Italy in 2008, and presently expecting his PhD in Public
Policy Analysis and Management from the University of America.

He started his working career in a publishing firm, Jator Publishing Company Ibadan, Oyo State as Deputy Editor/Administrative Officer, and later switched into public service, by joining the National Productivity Centre (NPC), Abuja, where he served as Productivity Officer, Senior Productivity Officer, Assistant Chief Public Relations Officer, and Chief Public Relations Officer between August, 1998 and June, 1999.

Mr. Fasanya also served as Personal Assistant to Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Defence from June, 1999 to February, 2002 and later Special Assistant to the Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals from February, 2002 to May, 2003.
He was a pioneer staff of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) when it was set up in 2003, and he served as a Special Assistant to the Pioneer Director General/CEO of the Agency, Mrs. Modupe Adelaja where he was overseeing all units under the Director General’s Office as Deputy Director and Group Head, Corporate Affairs.
He was appointed acting Director General of SMEDAN between July to December 2008 and later as Group Head, Strategic Planning, Policy and Coordination between April, 2009 and January, 2011.

Upon his promotion in January 2011, Fasanya was appointed as Director, Strategic Planning Policy and Coordination, a position he held till October 2014 when he was promoted as Director, Enterprise Development and Promotion – unarguably the engine room of the Agency, a position he held till 2018 when he was appointed to another strategic position as Director, Policy Planning, Research Monitoring and Evaluation – a position he distinguished himself so well till his retirement from the civil service on 3rd June, 2022.

A seasoned technocrat, dedicated, committed and a certified Business Development Advisor with a proven track record of landmark accomplishments of thirty-five years in the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs ecosystem in Nigeria, Fasanya remains one of the Most Distinguished Alumni of the “Great Ife” who with his wealth of experience, has made invaluable contribution to Nigeria’s economic development.

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