Stakeholders in the finance sector have urged insurance operators to offer tailored insurance solutions to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to deepen insurance penetration in the country.
A statement by Ms Chiamaka Ajeamo, Communications Manager, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), on Monday in Lagos, said this was part of the submissions of the stakeholders at CIIN’s education seminar held in Benin, Edo State, over the weekend.
The seminar was themed, “Insurance Solutions for MSMEs: Accessing New Opportunities for Penetration.”
In the statement, Mr Edwin Igbiti, President, CIIN, described the MSMEs sector as a major pillar and contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hence insurers must help players in the sector to embrace more insurance products.
Igbiti quoted the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) as saying MSMEs accounted for 96 per cent of all business activities, contributed 50 per cent of the national GDP, and provided over 48 per cent of all employment opportunities in Nigeria.
“The MSME sector plays strategic roles in poverty alleviation and inclusive growth through innovative and improved productivity; but unfortunately, they are highly vulnerable to risks.
“We recognise that the sector, despite contributing a lot to the socio-economic development of the country, faces numerous hurdles that negatively affect their sustained growth.
“This includes limited access to fund, business training, formal credit, infrastructure deficit, among others,” he said.
He stated that the recent flood menace that affected the nation and MSMEs inclusive, among other mishaps, was an opportunity to enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of insurance.
“I sympathise with all the flood victims across the country and believe that insurance companies will play their expected roles in ameliorating the effect of the losses and damages done promptly,” he said.
Giving the Keynote address, Mr Babatunde Fajemirokun, Managing Director, AIICO Insurance Plc, said MSMEs were the driving force needed to improve the economy and boost insurance penetration.
Fajemirokun noted that the MSMEs market was the missing link in expanding the frontiers of the insurance market.
IHS Trains Youths On SMEs Management
IHS Nigeria has completed its training programme for over 25 young individuals in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos State, as part of its “IHS Project Empower” initiative.
This effort was designed to empower them with the skills needed to establish small-scale businesses.
The event took place recently at Yaba LCDA in Lagos.
In his keynote address, the Associate Director, Government Relations IHS Nigeria Limited, Bond Abbe, said, “Based on our belief that entrepreneurship drives a nation’s growth, we have developed the IHS Project Empower, as one of our sustainability initiatives, to serve as proof of our unwavering commitment to nurturing entrepreneurial spirit for the betterment of our nation, which is in alignment with one of our sustainability pillars, education and economic growth.
“Our main aim is to create an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive through acquisition training, funding, mentorship, and support to help young adults turn their ideas into successful businesses through the IHS Project Empower”
According to him, the empowerment programme had provided training to over 2,929 young entrepreneurs and innovators, offered grants to 95 young entrepreneurs in 13 states of Nigeria, and, as a result, created 768 new jobs.
He added that this had positively impacted the lives of over 701,688 people across Nigeria.
FG, Bank To Train 2m Youths On Digital Skills
In furtherance to its pledge to support the job creation agenda of the President Bola Tinubu administration, WEMA Bank, in partnership with the Office of the Vice President, has concluded arrangements to commence an initiative that will impact two million youths and one million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.
The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, who received an update report on the programme on Monday during a courtesy visit by the Managing Director of WEMA Bank, Moruf Oseni, lauded the commitment and partnership of the bank for the initiative.
The delegation was at the Presidential Villa in Abuja to brief the Vice President on the progress made in the implementation of the FGN-ALAT Digital Skill-Novation Programme, an initiative of a partnership between the Federal Government and WEMA Bank to train two million youths and empower one million MSMEs across Nigeria.
Speaking on the support and commitment of the bank in the execution of the initiative, the VP in a statement by his media office said: “I will call on you to be above board. You are a good organization.
“I want to thank you most sincerely for your initiative and commitment, be rest assured that we will fulfill our own part of the bargain”.
Speaking to State House correspondents later in an interview, the MD of WEMA Bank, Mr Moruf Oseni, said they were at the Presidential Villa to brief the Vice President on “how far we have gone on the FGN/ALAT project.
“Vice President was very happy, and shortly you will hear from his office of how we want to progress with this programme. Part of this is to help create innovation hubs across the country for us.
“Mr President came out with a very bold and audacious plan on how to revive the Nigerian economy. The banks are a key player and we will put in our best to actualize this.
“If Nigeria does well, the financial institutions will do well. Mr. President is 100% on track and we are totally in support of his administration”.
On his part, Mr Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, emphasised the significance of collaboration, noting that “there is power in partnership. Private sector and the public sector coming together can always do more for the people.
“Mr. President’s ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda cannot be achieved by the government or private sector alone as it requires all hands on deck.
“So, we dug deep into the private sector to see how they can actually play their own role. In the first instance they agreed to partner with us on skills acquisition and in other aspects of the scheme that we plan to implement”.
The FGN/ALAT Digital Skill-Novation Programme will be formally launched by the Vice President on the 29th of September at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Also present at the meeting were Mr Tunde Mabawonko, Executive Director, WEMA Bank; Mr Bamidele Adefemi, Head of Federal Public Sector, and Mr Chioma Onuaguluchi, Regional Executive, Abuja.
Revamp Technical, Skills Acquisition Centres – CEO
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of I-Contact Connect Limited, Port Harcourt, Dr. Larry-Goodwill Ajiola, has reiterated the need for the Rivers State Government to urgently revamp technical and vocational training centres for skills acquisition in the state.
Dr. Ajiola, a United Nations Eminent Peace Ambassador, said skills development for decent work and livelihood is key to sustainable peace and stability of any nation, stressing that “equipping youths with relevant knowledge and right attitude to work will make them self-sufficient and not depend on white collar jobs which are not even available”.
Ajiola, who noted the high rate of unemployment among the youths in the state, attributed the alarming result to government’s neglect of technical and vocational education centers.
He also noted the need for companies sited in different communities to use this in empowering the indeginous youths in their areas, adding that lthis will go a long way in bringing lasting peace in the working environment and society at large.
He, therefore, called on the State Government to urgently revamp all the neglected technical and vocational centres and make them functional for the teeming youths of the state who desire to acquire skills that will make them self-employed and contribute their quota to the socio-economic development of the state.
He also encouraged the youths to make moves in contacting and dialoguing with the companies in their dormains on educational and vocational acquisition, warning against the quest for money, which, he noted, would be spent within few days.
Amb. Ajiola also noted the need for local government chairmen to collaborate with companies in their communities and empower their wards through skill acquisition.
By: Lilian Peters
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