Ibrahim Abdumalik, a Deputy Director in the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) says over 37 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are offering over 59 million jobs in Nigeria.
Mr Abdumalik, who is in charge of Enterprise Development and Promotion in the agency, said this on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of a capacity building workshop for young business owners, orgnaised by SMEDAN in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
He, however, regretted that the global recession had adversely affected so many enterprises with MSMEs as the worst affected.
He said the challenges posed by the recession should serve as a catalyst for innovative enterprises.
Mr Abdumalik, who represented the Director-General, Diko Radda, at the event, said the training was designed to curtail the mortality of small businesses in Nigeria.
He said, “MSME is for sure the most viable instrument for diversifying our economy and tapping into the rich but largely dormant resource deposits across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
“The stiff competition in the global markets have tended to further stifle the operations and growth of our MSMEs that can rightly be classified as ‘endangered species’.
“The fatalistic state of the majority of these enterprises is as a result of either environmental or endogenous constraints.
“This intervention is essentially to reinforce my agency’s commitment towards ensuring the easing of the harsh operating environment especially for MSMEs.”
Also, Chibuzo Osuoha, a Deputy Director at SMEDAN, who was a resource person at the training, said the programme was simultaneously going on in Ogun and Kaduna.
According to her, the training was packaged to address the problems identified by SMEDAN to be responsible for the failure of small businesses.
“We have taken time to groom young businesses and we noticed some deficiencies and lapses, so, we created a curriculum that would enhance their management skills,” Ms Osuoha said.
She said the participants were selected and put through a sensitisation programme on how to manage small businesses profitably.
She said the 104 beneficiaries, who run existing businesses were divided into two groups and would be assisted with a grant for operational space for one year.
Chris James, one of the beneficiaries, lauded SMEDAN for the training, saying that he had been exposed to new ideas.
“The sessions so far are so interesting, and will help us to remain in business profitably and the nuggets from the resource persons are very useful.
“I believe it will take care of business failures and make young businesses to thrive,” Mr James said.