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Driving the National Industrial Revolution Plan with MSMEs

Th e Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) marked the beginning of an organised and sustained direction for industrial development in Nigeria.
Th e Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI) plan for diversifi cation and growth is one of multiple planks the government is making to make Nigeria the most competitive and best place to do business in Africa.
Th e key elements of the MITI Plan for diversifi cation and growth are currently being implemented and others have been channeled as inputs into the Economic Management Team (EMT) briefs on the state of the economy.
Th e quarterly performance review reports recently published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have indicated that eff orts by government towards industrialization and diversifi cation of the economy as a key component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the NIRP has begun to impact positively on the economy.
A practical evidence can be found in the restoration of the economy from recession.
Th e implementation of other key macro-economic policies and a new foreign exchange management regime are also adding value towards the stability of the economy.
Previous government eff orts Th e previous government launched and began implementation of the Industrial Revolution Plan while the present administration built on the foundation of taking the important step, towards creating the desired enabling environment to drive a structural economic diversifi cation with an emphasis on increasing industrial productivity and achieving sustainable growth.
Th e broad objective of the renewed industrial plan is to accelerate the growth of manufacturing industry and diversify the industrial base of the economy mainly through the development of key sectors to enhance competitive advantage for Nigeria.
Th e MSMEs Here, emphasis is placed on the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), industrial sector for its employment generation in the economic development of the country.
Th e MSMEs have a very important role in the national economy as they enhance individual, community or cooperative enterprises and as means for the rehabilitation of displaced persons.
The Minister of State, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar has seized every opportunity at related events to highlight the signifi cance, the government places on MSMEs which, she said, “has continued to form the basis for the implementation of our industrial policy and we therefore think that supporting small businesses by creating opportunities for businesses to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting our economy.
Th at means making every eff ort to support businesses so they can grow”.
Th at explains why the government is working with stakeholders across all sectors to ensure MSMEs have the support they need to grow now and in the future.
To accelerate actualization, Hajiya Hajiya Abubakar Abubakar has traversed a number of states organizing clinics emphasizing the focus of government on the MSMEs as “a single point of access to all government services and information on business support.
” Apart from the business supports for MSMEs, it also provide access to fi nance, innovation, and leadership skills for MSMEs with high growth potential to formulate and deliver a high growth strategy.
Th at is, in line with the mandate of the Ministry to boost the development of MSMEs sector in Nigeria.
Th e MSMEs Clinic initiative is further intended to provide detailed information which all businesses require, as well as tender advice and services for businesses that need additional assistance with complex needs or may be at risk.
Th e platform also off ers immediate specialist business advice with more in-depth advisory services through a stakeholder’s team of experienced Business Support Advisors that off er free business support assistance tailored to the individual business requirements.
The MSMEs Clinic initiative was designed to drive government policy of enabling businesses, empowering local enterprises to further improve their capacity for export and attract foreign direct investments into the Nigerian economy.
It is stressed that Nigeria’s MSMEs need to adopt a global mindset to develop skills, strengthen design and innovation and build a global or regional operating capacity to expand its market share and manage its world class talent pool.
In the words of Hajiya Aisha, “for this purpose, we identified access to technology and fi nance as key drivers in this regard and we are pleased the government is focused on making it easier for small and medium scale enterprises to do business.
Th e MSMEs have been left out in the development of the economy due to past fi scal, industrial and other policies which do not necessarily prioritize the sector and other industrial and fi scal policies which do not respond to the specifi c requirements of the MSME sector.
” According to reports, women constitute about 30% of the total registered MSMEs in Nigeria and to a large extent women participation in key sectors such as the MSMEs subsector are critical for the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
The Ministry intends to further expand its support and promote industrialization focusing on MSMEs as a priority for restoring growth, achieving macroeconomic stability and driving economic diversification.
A landmark initiative, specifi cally created for MSMEs, includes innovative financing measures to support MSMEs and enhanced their access to the current CBN Small Medium Enterprises Credit Guarantee Scheme and more recently the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Funds, by reviewing its design and implementation through a specialized enabling initiatives to encourage on lending to the sector of better responds to MSME needs.
MSMEs to a very large extent are dependent on some of these loans for their external financing and they practically have very few alternatives.
Unfavourable tax regimes The government understood that an unfavourable tax environment can hinder the growth and development of its industrial sectors including the MSMEs and for this purpose, the recently launched Pioneer Status Incentive (PSI) by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission is critical for MSMEs development and to encourage their business expansion.
Companies classifi ed as pioneer industries or engaged in the production of pioneer products are entitled to apply for pioneer status.
If this is granted, they enjoy corporate tax relief/concessions as applicable, for an initial term of three years, starting from the date the pioneer company commences business.
Th is can be extended for a further period of one year, and a further one year term, subject to factors such as the relative importance at the time of the industry to national development.
The NIRP and NEDEP also aimed towards supporting a continuous fl ow of incentives both protective and promotional as an element of development strategy to meet its socio-economic objectives such as employment generation, poverty reduction, regional disparities and optimization of local resources.
A series of initiatives and policies measures have been formalized by the government to accelerate the growth and productivity of MSMEs business in Nigeria.
This includes a variety of promotional and protective measures like MSMEs loan interventions as coordinated by SMEDAN, specifi c loans by BOI, and N-Power initiatives, technology upgrade and industrialisation policy.
In particular, the activities of the industry are able to provide employment across the length and breadth of the country while the promotion of small scale sector has been one of the major objectives of the Ministry.
The ERGP strongly emphasis the need to gear towards the promotion and growth of the MSMEs and other small scale businesses including village and community services which has been a specifi c focus of the government, famous for its artistic industries like handicrafts and craftsmen captured through the fl agship and launch of the MSMEs Clinics across the states of the federation.
The MSMEs Clinic series include coordinating the activities of all stakeholders in both the private and public sectors to ensure that all efforts and activities are geared towards the priority sectors of the economy.
Th e ERGP provides for effective collaboration and coordination with the states in ensuring that governments at all levels work towards the same goals and the roles and responsibilities of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), State and Local Governments and other stakeholders responsible for MSME development inter alia include promoting inter-agency synergy and cooperation in MSMEs development.
The potential of MSMEs sector to contribute to long-term growth and development will depend not only on the attributes of the investors, but also on the quality and effectiveness of government policies to support the industry.
Th e Ministry is in the process of crafting ambitious new trade agreements which will see Made in Nigeria goods and services purchased across the world from emerging MSMEs businesses and our plan will inspire the innovation and creativity needed to turn them into global business.
All I can say at this point in time is to give us a little more time to review and align this and many other initiatives into the NIRP and reiterated the Government’s commitment to support and pursue progressive polices.
Abdul-rahman Rajab writes from the Offi ce of the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Abuja

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