The Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (NASME) has announced plans to introduce a one billion Naira youth and women investment and empowerment fund in August. This initiative is part of NASME’s upcoming 2023 Youth Empowerment Conference, aimed at addressing the challenges faced by Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
Abdulrasheed Yerima, the president and chairman of the Governing Council of NASME, revealed this development during the celebration of the 2023 International MSME Day. Yerima emphasized that MSMEs in Nigeria encounter various obstacles, including inadequate financing, digital maturity, security, and productivity, which hinder their efficiency, competitiveness, and growth.
While acknowledging the efforts of the federal government in tackling some of these challenges through financial inclusion programs and digitalization initiatives, Yerima emphasized the need to bridge the significant gap that remains, particularly for credit underserved MSMEs.
Yerima highlighted the vital role of digitalization in the empowerment of MSMEs but also stressed the crucial issue of funding. Empowering small businesses is essential for shaping Nigeria’s future, he emphasized.
In addition to the investment fund launch, NASME is also set to organize the ECOWAS MSME Conference in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Organized Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN), Bank of Industry (BOI), Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and other stakeholders. The conference will take place in November.
The International MSME Day serves as a platform to raise awareness about the crucial role of MSMEs in driving economic growth, poverty reduction, and job creation. It also sheds light on the challenges faced by MSMEs, including limited access to funding, quality education, technology, skill development, and market opportunities.
Citing reports from the United Nations, Yerima highlighted that MSMEs account for up to 90 percent of businesses globally, generating 70 percent of jobs and making significant contributions to the global GDP. This underscores the substantial impact that MSMEs have on both local and global economies.
NASME commemorates World MSME Day annually, recognizing the immense value that MSMEs bring to Nigeria. Yerima urged stakeholders to continue working together to empower and uplift MSMEs, creating an environment where they can thrive and contribute to the growth and prosperity of the nation.
Implication for the Nigerian Economy:
The launch of the one billion Naira youth and women investment and empowerment fund by NASME signifies a positive step towards addressing the challenges faced by MSMEs in Nigeria. By providing financial support and resources to these businesses, the initiative aims to enhance their productivity, competitiveness, and growth potential. This, in turn, can contribute to job creation, poverty reduction, and overall economic development. As MSMEs account for a significant portion of businesses and jobs globally, empowering and uplifting them in Nigeria will have a ripple effect on the country’s economy, fostering innovation, resilience, and sustainable growth.