Abuja - The Federal Government says it is partnering with Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to boost wealth and create jobs.
Mr Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment, announced this at the SME-Live Banking Panel Forum on Monday in Lagos.
Aganga said that the SMEs were the best vehicle for inclusive growth in any nation’s economy.
``If Nigeria is to achieve a 10 per cent growth rate in the next decade, it needs a strong micro, small and medium enterprises sector.’’
The minister said that the government had formulated the right policies for the sector to achieve sustainable growth.
``Today’s micro-enterprises are inevitably the big enterprises of tomorrow, and might well become a multinational enterprise eventually, if given the support in finance and capacity building,’’ he said.
Aganga said that the partnership had reduced the cost of doing business and tackled the infrastructure challenges facing SME’s.
He stressed that the government was focused on creating enabling economic environment through sound macro-economic and structural policies, good infrastructure and fair competition.
He also said that the current administration ``is providing necessary business support services for SME’s including skills training, trade fairs and exhibitions, product research and development, among others.’’
Amb. Sandas Robin, the Chief Executive Officer of the Food Security Education, Environment, Energy and Economies Development said that the programme provided avenue for entrepreneurs to exploit business opportunities.
``The main idea of this forum is to expand the ideas of SMEs in Nigeria and to exploit the global markets for development.
``This is not an event to offer or give grants to participants.
``It is an avenue for them to network and have a one-on-one interaction with bankers that can help their businesses,’’ Robin said.
Mr Duro Kuteyi, the Vice Chairman, National Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI), said that the training would enable Nigerian products to compete favourably at the international markets.
``We need skill development, we need networking, and we need information to remain relevant in the global economy,’’ he said.
He urged the Federal Government to support the SMEs for easy access to loans.
He acknowledged that the BOI had been helping SMEs to design business plans.
Such business plans, he said, had afforded the entrepreneurs to access loans, which hitherto was a major challenge.
NAN reports that more than 180 SMEs operators participated in the forum.