By Blessing Jekada
The Bank of Industry and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have been mandated by the Federal Government to create five million jobs within the next two years (2013 and 2014).
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga,who disclosed this during the third series of the empowerment programme for small and growing businesses titled, “Market Access Nigeria,” said government has mandated both BOI and SMEDAN to collaborate on creating five million jobs within the next two years.
“Recent data provided by the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) collaborative survey undertaken by SMEDAN and the National Bureau of Statistics put the number of MSMEs in Nigeria at 17.3 million, with total employment put at 32.41 million. If each of these SMEs is empowered to create one job each, this makes about 17 million jobs; if 50 per cent of these figures create one job each,” he said.
He further stated that if a quarter of the total are empowered, and they create one job each, over four million jobs will be created.
“So the figure is workable and conservative and I’ve directed the parastatals to get it done as a key performance index. Our job is to put structures in place to make it happen,” he said.
Aganga said that all over the world, SMEs empowerment has become the main economic growth strategy, considering the high employment generation capacities of SMES, adding that, with 17million SMEs in Nigeria, the creation of five million jobs was very possible.
In addition to that, the Federal Government is set to reduce the cost of accessing funds by SMEs within the tenure of the current administration.