By Funmi Olasupo
Former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon said Nigerian Government need to holistically key into the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME), philosophy in order to help the country diversify it’s economy. Speaking at this year’s 22nd Annual Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) Development Forum in Abuja, General Gowon maintained that for the country to diversify it’s economy SME calls for deliberate and calculated efforts by governments at all levels and precipitate value chain reaction in the economy.
According to him, the timing of the topic: “Women Entrepreneurship Development: Issues, Opportunities and Approaches.” is quite auspicious at this point of our national development, particularly because it has become imperative for the Nigeria economy to embrace diversification. He said, “Across time, experts on economic development have made the point that developing economies must unleash the creative potentials of their citizens by stimulating and sustaining SMEs to grow the informal sector of the economy
“One is, however, mindful of the legion of problems that beset SMEs in Nigeria today amongst these are the problems of energy; infrastructural deficit and inadequacy of take-off grant which must be substantially addressed. At the same time, the capacity of citizens must constantly be upgraded for operators to make meaningful contributions to the national economy,” he stressed.
General Gowon expressed satisfaction with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who has promised to diversify the economy from the mono product of oil. He explained further that “When this happens, SMEs will come up as critical agencies that will drive the diversification process, Agriculture, solid minerals, tourism and trades are sub-sectors that will enhance diversification.”
In his remark, the Founder of LAPO Godwin Ehigiamusoe maintained that his overarching goal which is to act in a manner that would assist low-income poor to break out of the grip of poverty was clear and direct.