By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba on Thursday reiterated Federal government’s commitment to providing enabling environment for economic activities to thrive in the country.
Speaking at the Strategic Planning Meeting of the MSME Business Mmembership Organizations Forum in Abuja, the Minister said, “government, will continue to provide conducive and friendly environment to investors and MSMEs for the growth and development of economic activities in Nigeria”.
He pointed out that the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025 which was recently launched by the President has identified key strategies for ensuring the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria.
According to the Minister, the Plan “seeks to invest massively in infrastructure, ensure macroeconomic stability, enhance the investment environment and improve on social indicators and living conditions of the people, adding that “to achieve this, government intends to support MSMEs and create jobs through standardization of operations and increasing access to finance”.
“The growth, professionalization, and transition of MSMEs from the informal to the formal market through training and mentoring, which will ensure their sustainability and bolster their hiring capacity will be supported. Government intends to work with key partners, particularly the development finance institutions to develop and expand the credit guarantee schemes available to players in the manufacturing sector, especially the MSMEs”, he added.
Agba also stated that the Federal Government “will prioritize and implement critical and strategic infrastructure projects that will directly raise production and productivity in the MSMEs, agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors, in line with rapid growth, job creation, poverty eradication and revenue and foreign exchange concentric economic diversification objectives”.
According to him, the focus would be on electricity, road/rail and other transport as well as broadband internet connectivity. Macroeconomic stability and security of lives and property are also part of the priority areas of the Government.
He explained that it was government’s belief that the NDP 2021-2025 cannot be achieved by the government alone, adding that the private sector and MSMEs have a huge role to play in the implementation of NDP 2021-2025 and the Nigeria Agenda 2050.
He said, “This is the more reason why the Plan Implementation will be driven by the Private Sector. 86 percent of the planned investment will come from the Private Sector. That is why the Ministry is considering signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the MSME Forum, to work together, especially in facilitating dialogue and developing joint programmes that will promote standardization, product complexity and competitiveness.
“Tough decisions will be taken under the NDP and the Nigeria Agenda 2050 in reducing bottlenecks and ensuring sectoral linkages, Plan and Budget alignment, reducing the impact of oil price on the economy and ensuring stability in economic growth. The Volume III of the NDP contains the legal and legislative imperatives, which includes the enabling laws that will be passed or amended to make the NDP 2021-2025 and the Nigerian Agenda 2050 to be effectively implemented even after the current Administration.
“Volume II is the costed -priority programmes and projects; and the Ministry and the Plan Implementation Unit will ensure these programmes and projects are considered for effective implementation in the Annual Budgets. Let me assure you that effective implementation of the NDP and the Nigeria Agenda 2050 will bring in greater benefits for businesses especially MSMEs”.
Stressing that MSMEs dominate the private sector space and creates over 50 per cent of jobs in developing countries, the noted that in Nigeria, the contribution of SMEs to GDP between 2015 and 2020 was put at 48 per cent on average.
“SMEs account for 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of activities in the manufacturing sector. MSMEs are also known to be very active in promoting backward integration, as most of them engage in the use of local materials as intermediate inputs i the production of goods. I wish to appreciate you and to say that the Government is proud of the contributions of Nigerian MSMEs”, he added.