The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has emphasized the need for a more nurturing environment within the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) ecosystem to foster their growth, resilience, and economic contribution. This call was made during a two-day MSMEs Business Summit in Lagos organized by the Innovation Centre for Leadership and Entrepreneurship Development (ICLED) in collaboration with SMEDAN. The summit focused on the theme, “Renewing MSMESs in Nigeria: Navigating Disruption and Embracing Change in the New Digital World”.
Dr. Olawale Fasanya, the Chief Executive Officer of SMEDAN, presented findings from a 2017 survey conducted with the National Bureau of Statistics, indicating that Nigeria had approximately 41.2 million MSMEs. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, this number decreased to about 39.6 million in 2020. Notably, within this 39.6 million, a significant 96.9 percent comprised NANO and micro enterprises, highlighting the substantial role of these smaller entities. Fasanya stressed the importance of mainstreaming these micro enterprises into small and medium-sized enterprises, considering the potential impact on youth unemployment and overall market dynamics.
Fasanya also emphasized the agency’s mandate to enhance the capacity of MSMEs, thereby enabling them to make a more significant contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While MSMEs currently account for 46.31 percent of the GDP, Fasanya expressed the belief that there is room for further growth. He noted that their contribution to exports, while valuable, has room for improvement, especially in light of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
Prof. Stephen Aliu, Team Leader at the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Wealth Creation, stressed the importance of implementing best practices to foster the growth and development of MSMEs. This includes providing tailored financial products, simplifying regulations, enhancing education and training, promoting innovation and technology adoption, and facilitating market access and internationalization. These measures, inspired by successful practices in other regions, can significantly bolster the MSME sector in Nigeria.