FG to Assist SMEs in Metals Sector

SMEs Metals sector

By Dipo Olowookere

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the metals sector in Nigeria have been assured of the federal government’s assistance.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Edet Sunday Akpan, said the government recognises the importance of SMEs as the engine for growth and development of the nation hence, the resolve of the ministry to engage them on the opportunities in the industry.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a sensitisation workshop organised by the ministry for operators in the sector, Mr Akpan said the government was looking at small business owners in the metals space as part of efforts to diversify the economy from dependence on oil and gas sector.

The Permanent Secretary, represented by Director, Special Duties, in the Ministry, Mr Olayinwole Adebayo, noted that the major challenges of SMEs in the industry have been identified.

He said these include lack of modern machinery and funding, adding that the workshop was aimed at enlightening the participants on ways of addressing the challenges as well as improve their skills and capacities to enhance their productivity.

“The resource persons will share with you better approaches to doing things right at the first time, especially on the strategies you can adopt to expand and modernize your enterprises for increased productivity,” he said.

In his welcome address, Director, Steel & NFM, MMSD, Engr. Kolawole Olasupo, said the workshop (stimulation & promotion of activities of SMEs in the Metals Sector), was initiated in 2012 with the aim of creating awareness amongst the operators of SMEs in the metals sector, comprising foundries, fabricators, welders, manufacturers of spare parts, aluminium extrusion and allied products.

“It is the vision of the Ministry to see these classes of operators in the Metals Sector fully integrated with other stakeholders in the industry,” he said.

Participants of the workshop were drawn from members of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASI), members of Welders and Filters Union and Metals Operators and Stakeholders from Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba States.

The participants were taken through presentations on critical subject areas to improve their performance – operating small and medium enterprises of metals sector in Nigeria: The way to go; opportunities and funding options for SMEs in the Metals Industry; and productivity, safety and industrial shop-floor practice, taken by representatives from SMEDAN, BOI and Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, respectively

Business Post gathered that the event, which took place in Gombe State on Monday, August 10, 2020, had most of the participants drawn from selected states in the North-East.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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