By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Small and medium Scale enterprises contribute nearly half of Nigerian GDP and accounts for over 25 percent of employment in the country.

This was the revelation of the Enterprise Baseline Survey 2012 presented in Abuja.

The 2012 Enterprise Baseline Survey revealed that there are 17 million Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria, employing 32.41 million persons and makes a contribution of about 46.54 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in nominal terms.

The survey conducted by the Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment Programme in collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, with support from the German Development Agency was aimed at establishing a clear data-driven basis for policy to support the SMEs segment of the economy.

According to the report, SMEs make up the overwhelming majority of private business concerns in Nigeria, which is in the excess of 17 million registered enterprises.

Unveiling the report, the Head of Component Enabling Environment, Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of EMPLOYMENT IN Nigeria Programme, SEDIN, Dr. Manfred Matzdorf, said the importance of credible and reliable data are crucial in Nigeria’s planning and policy formulation, describing it as key to nation’s socio-economic development. He said that the precondition for growth of any economy is competitiveness and investment, adding that there is a lot to be done by both government and private sector to improve investment.

According to Matzdors, the survey was designed to increase employment and productivity in line with SMEDAN’s goals and to encourage Nigerian integration into ECOWAS chatter on SMEs development. Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Director General of SMEDAN, Alh. Muhammed Nadada Umar, said though, Nigeria may have existed as an independent nation politically for 52 years, it has not existed as an economic independent entity, saying that political independence cannot work in Nigeria unless it is collaborated with the economy.

With the new EBS report, Nadada said Nigeria is better prepared for planning to make policies more responsive to the yearnings of the people. “Nigeria is in the present predicament because this enterprise sector has not been given the right environment to grow, but this report is part of steps that must be taken  to accelerate development of the sector and the economy because every sector in the economy depends on SMES to thrive.” According to the SMEDAN boss, Nigerian economy will not experience the best productivity unless 80 percent of people are engaged in small and Medium scale enterprises.

“The report is expected to be useful to both government and private sector in planning of national development and unless we have political and economic independence, our efforts will be in vain,” he said. The report also identified constraints requiring urgent public sector action. They are: electricity supply, road infrastructure, access to finance, tax administration, corruption, security, vocational education and business skills training.

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