The Lagos State Government has kicked off engagement with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) for the implementation of a partnership to harness the benefits of industrial clusters in the State.

The partnership will afford GIZ to implement the Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria (GIZ-SEDIN) Programme, including the Nigeria Competitiveness Project (NICOP) funded by the European Union.

Speaking at the maiden meeting of the Steering Committee comprising various stakeholders held at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives recently, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Engr. Abiola Olowu, stated that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has done a lot to support entrepreneurs and promote industrial clusters in the State.

His words: “Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is passionate with his support for businesses in the State and has extended various assistance to the State’s business community, particularly MSMEs in the last three and half years. From my understanding, this partnership focuses on appropriate policy/regulatory framework and provision of infrastructure. These have already gotten the attention of the administration, which has developed an Industrial Cluster Policy and is working on other aspects necessary for promoting industrial clustering in line with the T.H.E.M.E.S Development Agenda”.

“I want to appreciate GIZ-SEDIN for this laudable initiative and assure you that the administration will partner with all stakeholders to promote industrial cluster development to advance the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the State”, he added.

Also speaking at the meeting, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Adetutu Ososanya, noted that the Ministry is excited by the benefits the GIZ-SEDIN programme will bring to the MSMEs, adding that the present administration is ready to support the upcoming study on industrial clusters in Lagos State.

“The exercise will enable the State Government to promote and foster development among MSMEs and stakeholders in the State even to the grassroots level. I agree with the fact that the Local Governments are the closest to the people and they will not be undermined or side-lined in the exercise, but it takes a process to reach out to them”, she stated.

The Consultant on the GIZ-SEDIN project, Professor Omo Aregbe, explained that the essence of the meeting is to look at what is on ground in terms of the past performance of MSMEs, assess the current situation and improve on it.

In his words: “The clustering approach is a state business that involves participation from all stakeholders to help the MSMEs to improve on their competitiveness and help them become dynamic, learn to undertake targeted joint actions and increase their stock of social capital.

“The project is to support partner states in assessing the state of play of industrial cluster development and industrial framework policy/strategy in partner states; understand and identify viable industries for cluster growth, including supporting businesses with potentials for job creation; develop a policy framework and strategy on industrial clustering/development or review of the existing policy framework and strategy in partner states towards the competitiveness of MSMEs and build the capacity of relevant actors on industrial cluster management”.

“The outcome of this project or exercise would enable the GIZ to come up with the framework for her intervention activities in the state”, he stressed.

The Policy Advisor, GIZ-SEDIN, Chinazo Okoye revealed that the programme is an intervention strategy that targets the promotion and improvement of industrial clusters, enjoining stakeholders to show dedication towards the timely completion of the intervention as the programme itself will end in 2023.

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