FG, SMEDAN Train 5,365 Youth Entrepreneurs Across Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government, through the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEDAN), has commenced the training of 5,365 youth entrepreneurs across the country.
This was disclosed by Mr Dikko Radda, the Director-General of the body, at the inauguration of the programme tagged National Business Skills Development Initiative (NBSDI) on Monday in Sokoto.
He said that 145 entrepreneurs were selected in each of the 36 states and the FCT for the programme which is focusing on harnessing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) towards the entrepreneurial revolution in the agriculture and commerce industries.
He noted that the programme was designed in a practical way, developed by SMEDAN, to support MSMEs with entrepreneurial and vocational skills.
He further said that the programme would provide them with empowerment materials aimed at filling the capacity gaps of the youths.
He explained that beneficiaries are expected to earn income, by filling the artisan’s gap in the nation.
“The programme was designed to ensure that more professional services will be provided by local and well-trained young artisans, leading to a reduction in job losses and immigrants from neighbouring countries.
“It seeks to drastically pursue a reduction in dependence and poverty, as most of our youths still rely on stipends from parents,” Mr Radda said.
According to him, SMEDAN is determined to address the challenges confronting MSMEs in a holistic manner.
“This is why the agency implemented the One Local Government One Product (OLOP) in 109 senatorial districts across the nation.
“This is based on successful implementation of OLOP programme in Katsina, Kaduna, FCT, Osun and Anambra States, with the right intervention on the workshop, equipment support, access to working capital and capacity building.
“The agency also implemented the Conditional Cash Transfer for micro-enterprises which are assisted to register with relevant authorities, and opened bank accounts where at present, 25,000 entrepreneurs obtained N50,000 grants each,” the DG added.
He explained that the FG facilitated the establishment of Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) that provides standard services to MSMEs, noting that about 150 prospective BSDPs are awaiting practising licenses.
Mr Radda said that credible data of MSMEs was ensured to complement the national MSMEs survey, adding that at present MSMEs Mass Registration Project (MMRP) is ongoing to enhance evidence-based planning and development.
According to him, MSMEs Digital Academy, along with many other initiatives, were provided by the present administration to enhance peoples’ productive livings.
“Most recent national MSMEs survey of 2007 indicated that there are about 41.6 million MSMEs, employing 59.6 million labour force, contributing to 49.78 per cent and 7.64 per cent to nominal Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and exports respectively.”
The Director-General added that all the effort was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to uplift people’s lives and make them self-reliant by improving economic activities toward national growth.
In his remark, the Special Adviser to Governor Tambuwal on SMEs, Mr Dhalhatu Akibu, described the programme as timely and relevant as beneficiaries were selected and trained based on trades available in their areas.
Mr Akibu thanked SMEDAN for selecting Sokoto in the Northwest States for the commencement of the programme and assured of increased support and working synergy.