Chris Steven, Abuja
The Federal Government has once again charged Nigerians to take advantage of the current economic challenges facing the country to embrace small and medium scales enterprises, SMES as part of measures to diversify the nation’s economic.
The Director and Head, Policy, Advocacy and Coordination at the Small and Medium Enterprises Development of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Ewans Monday stated this in Abuja on Tuesday while speaking a one day seminar on promotion of small and medium scale enterprises organized by the JICA Alumni Association of Nigeria, JAAN.
He spoke on promoting economic diversification through the development of Small and Small Scale Enterprises for sustainable economic growth.
According to him, the time has come for Nigerians to take action and decisions on how to earn income on their own without having to wait for government noting that there many small and medium scale business opportunities in the country that can be tapped into by the ordinary Nigerian.
He particularly mentioned areas such as poultry production, livestock, bee keeping and processing, soya been processing, rice production among other areas as business potentials that anyone with little capital and entrepreneurial skills can venture into.
Speaking earlier at the seminar, the Chief Country Representative of Japanese International Cooperation Agency, JICA, Nakamura Hirotaka said JICA has been promoting small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria since 2007 during which he said the association introduced one village one product promotion.
The one village one product promotion focuses on community capacity building and rural development in developing countries and also emphasizes the role of local government in stimulating local industry, the question of how to reassess and effectively use local resources.
While stressing that JICA has been training Nigerian public officials in different areas, he however said that Nigeria must take cue from other African countries that are growing stronger by borrowing ideas from advanced and developed countries citing Kenya and Tanzania as examples of countries that have improved in SMEs.
Also speaking, First Vice President of JAAN, Emmanuel Okonko Nden said the federal government must lay the foundation for the proper take off of SMEs in the country by providing infrastructure, particularly in the area of power which has shut out many small scale businesses.
“The thing that we ought to do and we are not doing is laying the structure, the government must tackle the energy problem, for instance, we could go solar, we could go wind. Diversifying the economy is a good route we are taking and if we have this structure on ground we will get there” he said
While admitting that government and other stakeholders have been doing much of talking without taking action, he expressed optimism that the time has come to convert those talks into action.
“What I think is lacking in us is this oil blessing from the nature, in the early 80s we had a situation, as soon after that the oil filled up again. The moment oil went to sleep, we joined in the sleep and start wishing this is what we should and the moment the oil picked up again, we forget” he added