The newly appointed Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr Charles Odii, pledged to eliminate barriers inhibiting the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
Odii made the pledge while assuming duty at the agency’s headquarters on Monday in Abuja.
He said he would work with private and public institutions at all levels to achieve the agency’s mandate.
“We will explore local and international funding opportunities and democratise access to capital for entrepreneurs with valuable ideas and the right motivation no matter where they live in the country.
“SMEs will receive the training and skills they need to grow sustainably, meet local demand and become global players by exporting value.
“We will build production hubs where businesses can gain affordable access to the facilities they need, and we will showcase their products to the nation and the rest of the world.
“This can be achieved through masterful storytelling, exhibitions and fairs staged in partnership with relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Odii is among the 14 new Chief Executive Officers appointed on Friday by President Bola Tinubu to head agencies under the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The SMEDAN boss solicited the cooperation of the staff of the agency to make a difference.
“We will achieve this together as a team united by a common purpose. I am eager to collaborate with all of you to make a difference.
“Together, we can shape a future where our SMEs are not only surviving but thriving, and in doing so, contribute significantly to the prosperity of our nation,” he said.
Earlier in his remark, immediate past Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr Olawale Fasanya, said Odii was not new to the sector, which he
described as the corner stone of the economy.
“Most of the MSMEs, especially the micro and nano businesses, add to the economy.
“There are lots of challenges, but I believe that together we can impact on the ecosystem because this sector contributes over 80 per cent of employment to the economy,” said Fasanya.
He added that the population of this sector was enormous, and that the last survey showed that the the sector had not less than 39.6 million people.
“You cannot move from one house to the other without seeing one man businesses. It is important to segregate nano from micro in giving the right attention.
“We really need to support them because they are not usually affected by the economic shocks.
“We are in this journey together. I will keep offering my advice and I believe that very soon, people would begin to feel the changes in the sector,” Fasanya said.
Odii is a global enterprise development consultant with experience in entrepreneurship advancement. (NAN)