The Federal Government has restated her commitment to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Metals Sector in the continuing efforts to diversify the economy from dependence on oil and gas sector.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Edet Sunday Akpan, restating government commitment at the opening ceremony of sensitization workshop for operators of SMEs in the Metals Sector organized by Ministry of Mines and Steel Development from selected states in the North-East in Gombe on August 10, 2020, said that government recognizes the importance of SMEs as engine for growth and development of the nation hence the resolve of the Ministry to engage them on the opportunities in the sector.
The Permanent Secretary represented by Director, Special Duties, in the Ministry, Mr. Olayinwole Adebayo, said the Ministry has identified the major challenges of SMEs in the Metals Sector including lack of modern machinery and funding, stated that the workshop aimed at enlightening the participants on ways of addressing the challenges as well as improve their skills and capacities to enhance their productivity.
While urging the participants to take opportunities offered by the workshop to update their knowledge said: “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.”
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 of foundries, fabricators, welders, manufacturers of spare parts, Aluminum 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 (NASSI), 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 a small and medium enterprises of metals sector in Nigeria: The way to go; opportunities and funding options for SMEs in the Metals Industry; and productuctivity, safety and industrial shop floor practice, taken by representatives from SMEDAN, BOI and Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, respectively