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‘Review Of National Policy On MSMEs’ll Engender Socio-Economic Dev’

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The Small and Medium Enterprises Developmnt Agency of Nigeria (SEMEDAN) says review of National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will engender socio-economic development if seamlessly implemented at national and state levels.
The Director-General of SMEDAN, Mr Dikko Radda, made this observation at the National Stakeholders Engagement for “Review of the National Policy on MSMEs” organised by SMEDAN in Owerri, yesterday
He said that the recently released National Survey on MSMEs estimated that MSMEs in Nigeria contributed 49.78 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria in the face of daunting challenges.
Radda was represented by the Director of Planning, Research, Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at SMEDAN, Mr Wale Fasanya.
He said the MSME sub-sector according to the survey, had created over 59,647 million employments across the country with the micro enterprises accounting for over 41,469 million, representing 99.8 per cent of the entire MSME of the populace.
He also said that if the government and all stakeholders collaborated to provide an enabling environment, the MSMEs could get the country out of “the present predicament of unacceptable rate of unemployment, illicit financial engagements, insecurity, political and social violence.”
The director-general said that the review of the national policy on MSMEs would fast-track the process for creating the much needed enabling environment, while the issue of unemployment would be resolved within the shortest possible time.
He noted there was the need for a cohesive public-private partnership in the implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs for it to be effective.
“The need for a long-term MSME strategy (provided by a national policy on MSMEs) as an imperative for national development cannot be over-emphasised.
“This is why emphasis is placed on reviewing the document every four years to be sure that the full potential that exist within the MSME space is fully explored and exploited,” he said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Imo State Government on Ease of Doing Business, Mr Leonard Ugboaja, who represented Governor Emeka Ihedioha, commended the organisers for choosing Imo as the venue of the programme for the South East Zone.
He said the state government was passioinate about the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMSEs) and had initiated moves to empower the youths in the area of agriculture,– modern farming techniques-, ICT, and technical and vocational education, among others.
The South-East Zonal Coordinator for SMEDAN, Mr Levi Ayinkwa said that the agency had spearheaded some novel initiatives that had opened the doors of entrepreneurship development across the country in the last two years.
He said the National Policy on MSMEs, which was the maiden policy formulated in 2007, stipulated a review every four years.
He said the last review was in 2015, hence the need for a mandatory harvest of inputs from critical stakeholders to ensure the policy was robust, inclusive and implementable.

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Declare State Of Emergency On Refineries, Oil, Gas Dealers Urge FG

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The Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), yesterday, charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on Nigeria’s ailing refineries with a view to bringing them back to life as quickly as possible.
The association lamented the disastrous impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and investors in the downstream sector leading to a loss of over N320billion.
The NOGASA spokesman Mr Ukadike Chinedu, said in a statement that the loss sprang from products purchased at government-specified prices and were compelled to sell at reduced prices, which could cover the costs of transaction.
‘Numerous businesses are dying in silence. A lot of them are no longer trading as a result of the heavy losses.
‘There is an upward slide on the graph of job losses in the sector.
NOGASA and its numerous members sacrificed significant resources during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown period to keep fuel supplies stable across the nation.
The association also made sure that its members safeguarded the livelihoods of their workers by not opting to lay them off during these past difficult months,’ he said.
NOGASA also urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to abort its planned nationwide strike but pressure the government to repair the refineries, and also allow others to build private ones; to encourage a more robust competitive business environment.
NOGASA, he added, strongly believes that further disruptions in the currently-struggling economy will create far more problems for workers and businesses that employ them than it seeks to solve.
“It is in light of these and many other economic challenges and negative outcomes to the entire Nigerian economy that NOGASA appeals to the NLC/TUC to reconsider their proposed action over the increase in petroleum pump price and electricity rates by the government and engage the government constructively on finding a lasting solution to the issues aforementioned,” he noted.
He said: “NOGASA is seriously concerned about recent developments in the downstream sector of the industry, especially with growing adverse effects on their businesses, workers and the Nigerian economy at large.
“Some of these concerns are heavy losses of over N320billion investment from products purchases at government specified prices, and sales at compelled price reductions, which could not be justified by the costs of transaction.
“Numerous businesses are dying in silence. A lot of them are no longer trading as a result of the heavy losses. There is an upward slide on the graph of job losses in the sector.
“NOGASA and its numerous members sacrificed significant resources during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown period to keep fuel supplies stable across the nation.
“The association also made sure that its members safeguarded the livelihoods of their workers by not opting to lay them off during these past difficult months.”
Ukadike explained that while the association fully aligns with the NLC/TUC that the government should repair the refineries and also allow others to build private ones to encourage a more robust competitive business environment.
“While the association believes that there is great need for more sensitive considerations and far reaching negotiations and dialogue to resolve matters that affect us all, the association also uses this medium to appeal to government to declare a state of emergency on the refineries with a view to bringing them back to life as quickly as possible.”

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WTO: FG Seeks Iran’s Vote For Okonjo-Iweala

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The Federal Government is seeking the vote of Iran for its candidate, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the race to the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Director-General office.
The WTO is looking for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August.
Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala is among the five cleared for the elections.
The others are Kenyan minister, Amina Mohamed; South Korean Trade Minister, Yoo Myung-hee; Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri; and British ex-minister, Liam Fox.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo told the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohammed Alibak, that Okonjo-Iweala’s election victory would strengthen global trade and economies.
The minister stated that Nigeria would rely on Iran’s support for the election of Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela as the next DG for WTO, stressing that if elected it would be the first time an African will occupy the position since its establishment on January 1, 1995.
Adebayo further said the Bilateral Trade Agreements (BTA) earlier signed between the two countries in 2001, the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) in 2008, the establishment of the Nigeria-Iran Joint Commission in 2004, and the Iran Chamber, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture in 2016 should be sustained.
He assured the ambassador that Nigeria would work with Iran to improve on the current low trade volumes as both countries have great potential that can leverage on considering the fact that the two countries are oil-dependent economies.
He said, “We can also share knowledge and best practices on economic diversification and our national development goals as Buhari’s led administration is pushing to diversify the economy into the non-oil sector through various initiatives and a strategic partnership in the industrialization of key sectors that can boost efforts towards export of Iran and Nigeria.”

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FG Places Nine-Year Presidential Jet On Sale

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The Federal Government has put up for sale a jet in the presidential fleet, Hawker 4000 aircraft with registration number 5 N- FGX/ : RC 066.
The business-size jet which entered into service in December 2011, according to findings, has capacity for nine passengers and three crew members.
Further findings also indicate that only 73 Hawker 4000 aircraft were manufactured by Hawker Beechcraft between 2001 and 2013 and they were sold for $ 22 .91 m each as of 2012.
The Federal Government, in a published advert on Wednesday, disclosed that the aircraft with a range of 3 ,190 -nautical mile had flown for 1,768 hours.
It said the aircraft could be inspected at the Presidential Air Fleet ’s hangar located at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , Abuja.
Interested buyers were requested to submit their closed bid to the Chairman , Committee for Sale of Aircraft , Office of the National Security Adviser, care of Special Services Office , Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In an advertisement published in some national dailies on Wednesday, prospective buyers were directed to submit a refundable bank draft for $ 50,000 to the committee with the bid .
It also said that all the bids should be quoted in dollars.
The notice read: “Please note that all bids must be submitted within one week of this publication.
“Background check is required as a pre -qualification for the bid . Prospective bidders who want to inspect the aircraft will be granted access within one week from this advertisement”.
The Presidency had similarly in 2016 put up for sale two presidential aircraft , a Falcon 7 X executive jet and Hawker 4000, in line with the directive of the President that aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet should be reduced to cut down on waste.
The government also said some aircraft in the fleet would be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force for its operations . It could not be confirmed if this had been done.

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