Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje has called for the promotion of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to enhance economic growth and ensure food sustainability in the country.
Ganduje said this at the third edition of the Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award in Abuja on Friday night.
The governor said that the SMEs needed more attention than they were currently getting to promote the efforts of the Federal Government to diversify the economy.
“In order to feed ourselves, produce and export, we have to look at the SMEs,” he said.
He said the state was investing in basic infrastructure to ensure that SMEs were actively involved in “stimulating commercial activities” .
“We have 37 very strong micro-finance banks and we have an agency responsible for the banks.
“We secured a loan of N2 billion we distributed through the banks to farmers, real farmers, and we provided the sum of N100 million for weak farmers to buy improved seeds.
“We produce fertilisers beyond the boundaries of Kano which has more qualities than imported ones.”
Ganduje added that youths in the state were also being trained in different skills to build the manpower gap in the state.
He noted that promoting youth development and skills acquisition in the country would impact on its economic growth.
The Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Bashir Wali, said that SMEs were regarded globally as the bedrock of development in any economy.
Wali was represented by Head of Strategic Planning, NEXIM, Mr Tayo Omidiji.
The NEXIM boss said that there was need to develop proper police responses to the issues and challenged SMEs in the country to support efforts by the government to diversify the economy and enhance economic growth.
“In Nigeria, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency has observed that there are about 37 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Nigeria employing about 60 million people.
“The MSME sector is also also reckoned to contribute about 50 per cent to the GDP and seven per cent to export earnings.”
He disagreed with the notion that the major challenge of SMEs was poor access to finance.
He said that improper project project conception, implementation and poor management practices were the main challenges of SMEs.
“Other challenges include poor access to market, poor record keeping, lack of corporate governance practices and absence or lack of proper business plans.
“Once these issues have been addressed, entrepreneurs will have access to finance and incidents of business failure will reduce and sustainable growth and development can be achieved.”
The co-Founder, Nigeria Entrepreneurs Award, Mr Joshua Uwabor said that encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurial instinct was the economic success of any nation.
Uwabor said that the award ceremony was aimed at celebrating and promoting the achievements of entrepreneurs in the country.
“We owe it as a sense of responsibility to always celebrate and promote their (entrepreneurs) achievements.
“They are men and women, who against the tide of recession and economic challenges continue to innovate and provide opportunities for ideas to blossom into job opportunities and economic growth for the nation.”
He added that the event was also to recognise and celebrate the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, business leaders, corporate organisations and heads of government agencies that “embody a spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity”.
“We had a call for nomination in May which was open till July; we had the advisory board that did the screening and we put them into categories for voting.
“We had a voting platform for young emerging entrepreneurs on our site and for the organisations we placed them in different categories and had the public vote for them.”
Highlights of the ceremony included the presentations of different categories of awards to recipients.