By Franklin All
NIGERIA is set to replicate the success story of One Local Government One Product (OLOP) opportunities it borrowed from Japan to boost jobs and rural economy in all states of the federation over the next three years.
Bature Umar Masari, Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), who disclosed this during an interactive session with Industry correspondents in Lagos, said: “OLOP is based on a borrowed idea from Japan which has seen them developing economically and otherwise.
“The pilot projects have been conducted in Kano and Niger states, using rice, groundnut oil, leather products , yam and sheanut, and based on the lessons learnt from the pilot projects, SMEDAN is now implementing the programme in all states of the federation and local government areas within the next three years, under the National Enterprise Development Programmme, NEDEP. It is being implemented by SMEDAN, Industrial Training Fund, ITF, and the Bank of Industry.
He explained that OLOP focuses on identifying products with competitive and comparative advantages in each of the local government area in the country.
“SMEDAN borrowed the OLOP concept from Japan in April 2009 to revitailse the rural economy, improve employment opportunities and alleviate poverty in rural areas.
This was based on the One Village, One Product (OVOP) movement implemented in the Oita Prefecture in Japan. The governments of both Nigeria and Japan agreed to implement a technical cooperation programme beginning in February 2010 to verify implementation methods and institutional arrangements for the promotion of OLOP,” he said.
He disclosed that the first batch of cooperative bodies set up under the NEDEP will get approved funding before the end of February.
“The approval for award of funds was obtained after the cooperatives’ business plans successfully passed the requisite assessment and evaluation of the Bank of Industry (BoI).
“And so far, we have been able to cover 22 states within a period of three months and we have also formed as at the end of December 2013, 20, 111 cooperative bodies all over the country who are now very busy being guided by SMEDAN to come up with bankable business plans.
We have received and handed over those business plans that are ready to BOI which is a collaborating partner of the NEDEP programme with a view to providing financing for the enterprise of their choice along an identified product’s value chain.
And I believe that before the end of this month, these ones that have qualified will start getting financing from BoI,” he said.
According to him, some of the successful cooperatives with bankable business plans have already received letters of award from BoI.
He explained that all developed business plans must come through SMEDAN before it goes to BoI who also in turn gives SMEDAN a copy of their assessment and evaluation of the cooperative, stressing that all these are done in order to minimise the