By Dipo Olowookere
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives began a public hearing on a bill to empower artisans and craftsmen to enable them contribute to economic growth of the country called the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) Act 2003.
Sponsor of the bill, Mr Ahmed Kaita, explained that he was moved to do this because of the need to empower and protect a massive population with the capacity to spur the country’s economy.
He said the bill seeks to repeal and re-enactment the Act.
According to him, “For any economy to get it right, it must first of all empower that working population which is massive, those particular people that we are referring to are large in number and can spur growth.
“There is no government policy that will lead the country out of this economic doldrums without considering these artisans, craftsmen, market women and all those people that contribute to the economy.”
He argued that most developing countries that were at par with Nigeria were able to get it right because they were able to address the issues that the bill sought to address and said it bill is to protecting them, empowering them and makes them compete with other projects in other countries.”
Mr Kaita said further that, “The intent is very simple; the current government has made it very clear that it is going to look inward.
“We are not going to be importing things; we will try to protect our borders, so that we can spur growth from within.
“You can only do that if you incorporate the very people that will make such an economic impact to the economy.
“These are the category of people that are abandoned and least considered in the economy.
“So this bill seeks to secure their employment by giving them all necessary incentives so that they can generate improved system and employ more hands into their businesses.”
“So if we must get it in Nigeria, we cannot allow such a population to go like that. We have to invest in them for us to have economic prosperity,” he submitted.
SMEDAN was established through the Act to coordinate and facilitate the development of micro, small and medium enterprises.
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