The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has said that the Federal Government is committed to improving access to finance for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The Minister stated this at this year’s Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) Annual Conference with the theme “The Role of Nigeria’s MSMEs, Export, Commodities, Trade & Investment in stabilising the Post Covid-19 Economy: Issues & Challenges” which took place in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Minister who was the Special Guest of Honour at the event stated that the Federal Government has, over time, created platforms to improve access to finance for MSMEs in order to boost production, increase the value of trade, enhance the investment climate, foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to her, “This is in addition to the deliberate and pragmatic policies geared towards supporting and sustaining small businesses in the country, thereby equipping entrepreneurs to compete globally, especially under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA)”
Katagum explained in a bid to guarantee continuity in support of MSMEs in the country, the Federal Government harnessed the prime policies of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) into the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP), to sustainably create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“These policies are aimed at boosting productivity levels of businesses in the country, thereby accelerating the growth of the domestic market and creating profitable connections to regional, continental and global markets.”
The Minister revealed that at the last Presidential Retreat for members of the Federal Executive Council, President Muhammadu Buhari underscored the importance of MSMEs as the engine of economic growth and pledged that government would do everything possible to support MSMEs, including removing all bottlenecks to MSME’s access to finance.
She pointed out that the President recently inaugurated the National Council on Monitoring and Evaluation of Executive Order 005 on local content which will, among others, be a game-changer for MSMEs.
Katagum noted that other pro-MSME interventions by the government, such as the recent approval of the revised National Policy on MSMEs, the planned floating of an MSME Micro Finance Bank by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and the government’s emphasis on single-digit interest credit facility for MSMEs.
The Minister attested to the steadfastness of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, adding that, the Ministry would continue to proactively engage Commodities Associations with a view to ensuring that challenges mitigating against their operations are tackled, especially now that we are gradually exiting the Covid-19 pandemic.