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Federal Govt Launches Report On Nigeria’s Informal Economy

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In a significant move highlighting its commitment to bolstering Nigeria's informal economy, the federal government has launched Nigeria's Informal Sector Report 2024. This initiative underscores the sector's pivotal role in driving employment, income generation, and economic resilience, particularly in recent times.

Minister of industry, trade and investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite,who launched the report yesterday in Abuja, emphasised the administration's dedication to SME growth under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. She stressed the importance of leveraging supportive government policies to empower SMEs and enhance their contributions to the national GDP.

The report, developed by Moniepoint Micro Finance Ltd in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), was formally introduced in Abuja.

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Director-general of SMEDAN, Charles Odii, in his presentation outlined the agency's ambitious ‘Grow Nigerian' agenda aimed at accelerating growth and prosperity for small businesses. This agenda focuses on expanding local production capacities, improving market access both domestically and internationally, and creating an enabling environment for over 40 million small businesses, collectively providing more than 60 million jobs.

Odii highlighted SMEDAN's commitment to shielding businesses from inflationary pressures while empowering them to enhance production standards and competitiveness.

He said the ‘Grow Nigerian' strategic blueprint aims to address Nigeria's forex and unemployment challenges through diversified import substitution, thereby fostering economic engagement and foreign currency earnings.

The initiative also includes collaborative efforts with other government agencies to streamline regulations and optimise them for growth and productivity. This comprehensive approach aims to remove barriers to formalisation and growth, offering SMEs affordable financing, access to lucrative markets, mentorship, and capacity building.

In alignment with the government's food security mandate,he said SMEDAN is actively supporting smallholder farmers by promoting global best practices in agriculture, from seed selection to harvesting techniques.

Odii articulated SMEDAN's mandate for SMEs as encapsulated in the acronym ‘GROW': Guidance, Resources, Opportunities, and Workforce support.

According to him,the agency's focus spans seven priority sectors including agriculture (EAT Nigeria), manufacturing (PRODUCE Nigeria), tourism (VISIT Nigeria), fashion (WEAR Nigeria), creative industries (WATCH AND LISTEN Nigeria), education (TEACH Nigeria), and services (PATRONISE Nigeria).

He also highlighted SMEDAN's innovative ‘One Local Government, One Product' initiative, designed to harness local products for consumption and exports across Nigeria's 774 LGAs.

He disclosed that the initiative provides financial support to cooperatives, structured with a 70 per cent loan and 30 per cent grant arrangement.

Also speaking, managing director of Moniepoint MFB,Babatunde Olofin, underscored the report's role in enriching policymakers' understanding and stakeholders' perspectives on Nigeria's informal economy.

He emphasised the sector's pivotal role in providing substantial employment and income opportunities, particularly for those outside the formal job market.

Olofin reiterated that Nigeria's Informal Economy Report serves as essential reading for individuals and organisations interested in comprehending the dynamics of the informal sector, aiming to foster a more inclusive and sustainable economic landscape.

He reaffirmed Moniepoint's commitment to financial inclusion and improving access to the financial system, essential for enhancing business and consumer financial well-being.

A panel discussion concluded with a resounding call for continued collaboration and concerted efforts to support and elevate Nigeria's vibrant informal economy towards sustainable growth and development.

 

 


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