The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with 212 businesses, in order to implement the One Local Government, One Product (OLOP) program.
The flagship initiative of SMEDAN, OLOP, is positioned to significantly contribute to the expansion of the economy by empowering microbusinesses in 774 local government areas to transform raw materials into products with added value.
Mr. Olawale Fasanya, Director General of SMEDAN, stated that the project’s goal was to help SMEs expand their operations at the agreement’s signing on Thursday in Abuja with representatives of the firms and Micro Finance Banks (MFBs).
Fasanya encouraged the MFBs to ensure prompt delivery of funds to expand enterprises after expressing concern that one of the main obstacles impeding the expansion of SMEs was the lack of access to loans.
The Head of SMEDAN also gave the program’s participants instructions on how to wisely use the chance to expand their enterprises, amass money, create jobs, and boost the GDP of the country.
He reiterated SMEDAN’s commitment to drive the OLOP project in identifying a single product in one local government area and assist SMEs operators in form of cooperatives, with financial, technical and marketing support.
According to Fasanya, this 6th edition of signing the Memorandum of Agreement with Micro Finance Banks and cooperative societies is ending the first circle of the OLOP programme.
“That means that the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria have been covered.
“Two hundred and twelve Local Government Areas in the North Central are benefiting. They are in Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“This stream rounds off the first circle of 2022 OLOP programme,’’ Fasanya said.
He advised the beneficiaries and the MFBs to always adhere to the goals of the OLOP initiative while stressing SMEDAN’s desire to make sure that no innovative agro business was left out.
He claims that SMEDAN has made a commitment to creating a competitive Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
But Fasanya emphasized that in order for other cooperative societies to take advantage of the initiative, program participants must always repay their loans.
In addition, he added, cooperative societies that did not repay the loans would have their property sold. He promised that SMEDAN would conduct a forensic audit to determine how the program performed.
Earlier, the Director of Agro Business at SMEDAN, Hajia Sefia Banla, described OLOP as a two-year program with participants receiving 70% of the total amount as a loan and 30% as a grant.
She emphasized that SMEDAN would keep providing business development services, training, and funding to help MSMEs in Nigeria become more capable.
Additionally, she urged the recipients to use the money strictly for business needs and gave the banks the responsibility of making sure the money was distributed on schedule.
Banla also bemoaned the beneficiaries’ tardy loan payback.
She pleaded with the MFBs to make sure that funds were distributed without delay and that payments went into the cooperative societies’ accounts.
Banla also tasked the MFBs to ensure that the cooperatives submit bankable business plans before disbursements were made.
Mr. Valentine Anosike of Mac-Chiz Global shared his success story, stating that the company’s ability to pay back the SMEDAN loan created the opportunity to receive additional incentives from the organization.
He claims that thanks to SMEDAN’s assistance, the company has gone from having five registered items to eleven.