The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, SMEDAN, has empowered 600 micro businesses in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, under its Conditional Grant Scheme, CGS.
Dr. Dikko Radda, the Director General of SMEDAN, presented letter of award to the beneficiaries at the inauguration of the scheme on Friday in Abuja.
While addressing participants, Mr Radda said the micro enterprises sub-sector needed to be strengthened because it was a critical area in the Nigerian enterprise development space.
According to him, the sector collectively accounts for a vast majority of businesses in Nigeria and also accounts for the highest number of jobs created in the economy.
“It is important to note that over 90 per cent of the micro enterprises are informal and populated by people at the bottom of the pyramid.
“Hence, the need for the agency to conceptualise a flagship programme referred to as Conditional Grant Scheme for micro enterprises in Nigeria.
“The justification for a special entrepreneurship and vocational development intervention for entrepreneurs at the bottom of the pyramid cannot be overemphasised .
“This is to graduate the informal enterprises to the formal sector, industrialise the nation, develop rural economy, stem youth restiveness and unemployment, and create the platform for sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.”
Mr Radda said that the CGS initiative was geared toward promoting the activities of micro enterprises across the country in the areas of capacity building.
He said that the scheme was also for the delivery of post-intervention services such as access to finance, markets, workplace and technology, among others.
The SMEDAN chief said that the pilot phase of the project was conducted in 2017 in the six geo-political zones in Katsina, Gombe, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and Benue states.
He said that the scheme was currently taking place in Kaduna, Yobe, Abia and Delta States and the FCT.
He said in achieving the objectives of the programme, SMEDAN would be working in partnership with other stakeholders including Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, business development service providers, state and local governments and the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
“Considering the socio-economic impact on the enterprises of the beneficiaries, the agency wishes to extend the programme to other states of the federation, subject to availability of project funds,” Mr Radda said.