The Regional Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Mr. Jean Bakole, has opined that the current economic situation in Nigeria can be boosted if the Federal Government takes cognisance of the huge contribution of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to all business activities in the country.
Speaking in Abuja on the various interventions being spearheaded by UNIDO in the country in recent years, Bakole pointed out that the MSMEs accounts for 96 per cent of all businesses in Nigeria and contributes 50 per cent of the GDP as well as providing over 48 percent of all employment opportunities in Nigeria.
He, however, regretted that in spite of their critical role in the economy, they are faced with a litany of daunting challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He pointed out that the capacity-building project embarked upon by the agency had strengthened about 124 MSMEs in the health sector to transform into the formal sector, develop the rural economy, and create sustainable economic growth and development while providing quality PPEs and other healthcare-related products.
He said, “In the Nigerian economy, the role of the MSMEs is absolutely key. They represent almost 96 percent of the business activities in the country. They are contributing to about 50 percent of the national GDP and account for 48 percent of all employment in the country. Despite the critical role of the MSMEs, we have to also recognise that they are facing a number of challenges in the country including, but not limited to accessing finance and markets, infrastructure deficit, multiple taxation, technological disruptions, and regulations framework issues. Start-ups constitute the future of the economy globally, and Nigeria cannot be left behind.”
While presenting the project to the public, UNIDO’s Chief Technical Officer (PPEs), Mr Jarl Hansstein explained that the capacity-building initiative had sought to strengthen the ability of selected local MSMEs/manufacturers including at least 30% women-led and 20% youth-led businesses to upgrade production processes and adopt standards and technical regulations as a reference for production of high-quality PPEs and healthcare products to meet local demand and for export to ECOWAS sub-region.
According to him, “A total of 97 enterprises have so far benefited from UNIDO’s technical assistance and training as of today, of which 94 are in production and equipment management, 97 in quality management, 70 in strategic marketing and 125 MSMEs will be benefiting from equipment supplies.”