The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Evelyn Ngige has said the Ministry would continue to expand its collaboration with private sector to create well-paid jobs for Nigerian Youths in fulfilment of the President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s promise to lift 100 million Nigerian out of poverty in the next ten years .
Dr. Evelyn Ngige disclosed this while declaring open the Technical Session of the Meeting of the 13th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment, with the theme: “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Nigeria: The role of Stakeholders“ going on at Ekiti State Civic and Covention Centre, Fajuyi Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Dr. Evelyn disclosed that the Ministry through the Industrial Training Fund ( ITF) , has trained one thousand two hundred and eleven beneficiaries under its info-Tech Skills Empowerment Programme (ISEP), Passion to Profession, and other Special Skills intervention programmes.
According to Permanent Secretary, various strategic wealth creation programmes have been embarked by the Ministry through Small, and Medium Enterprises Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), as these efforts are all geared towards providing jobs for unemployed Nigerians, stressing that these efforts have also led to the review of the National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to encourage the establishment of more Small and Medium Enterprises within the length and breadth of the country.
According to her, under the “ One Local Government, One Product (OLOP) Programme “, which is being implemented as a regional economic development model to galvanise and mobilize local resources in all the seven hundred and seventy- four (774) Local Government Areas, 109 MSMEs are selected every year, concentrating on one specific product from each Senatorial Zone, each selected enterprise is given a grant of 30% to 70% of the approved sum as a loan with no interest, to be repaid within eighteen (18) Months.
She further disclosed that, one of key programmes initiated by the Ministry to create wealth and grow the economy include the Advancement for Women in Agriculture, Agro- Allied and Cottage Enterprises (AWACE) which has successfully developed the agro- processing capacities and capabilities of women.
“ At the moment, over three hundred (300) women have been trained and provided with the processing equipment as grants to enhance their agro-processing engagements, adding that another initiative being rigorously implemented is the National Business Skills Development Programme (NBSD) which has three components of Entrepreneurship Training, Vocational Skills Training and Provision of Empowerment Materials. The implementation of the has commenced in all seven States of the Northwest Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria namely ;Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara States.
Subsequently, the programme will cascade to the remaining geo-political zones of the country as 5,365 MSMEs have benefitted from NBSD” She added.
She further explained that the focus of Government has remained to create the enabling environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive as the engine of growth of the National economy as the SMEs subsector contributes a large percentage to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) “ It is in recognition of this that Government has evolved various measures to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises sub-sector as the fulcrum for industrialization, job creation and poverty alleviation in Nigeria, in addition, the Ministry is at fore front of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement for the realization of the country’s vision to attain the diversify, competitive and sustainable economy by making Nigeria’s products and services the most preferred in Africa.” Dr. Evelyn Ngige added.
She commended the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo,CON and the Minister of State, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, the Ministry and its Agencies for their continued demonstrate of high sense of commitment and dedication towards the attainment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to diversify and strengthen the Nigerian economy through non- oil commodities.
Dr. Evelyn urged all Technical Officials to carefully deliberate on the memos presented at this Council and make actionable recommendations that will further strengthen Current efforts of the Present Administration towards the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
In his vote of thanks, the Director, Planning, Policy, Research and Statistics (PPR&S), in the Ministry, Babagana Alkali appreciated the Chairman of the Technical Session who is the Permanent Secretary of Ministry, Dr. Evelyn Ngige and other stakeholders as well as the timely implementation of the key decisions of the Council.