By Nkiruka Nnorom
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, has said that registration by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises migrating from informal to formal sector has risen by over 52 percent in less than two years.
This, according to him, followed the reduction by 60 percent of the cost of business registration by Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, by the federal government in 2013.
He spoke at the Fidelity SME Forum, a weekly radio programme, organised by Fidelity Bank Plc as a deliberate attempt to resuscitate the Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.
The bank over the time has been assembling successful business across the country to share their success tips in order to encourage small business owners.
Aganga said, “For the first time in the history of this country, we have a government led by President Goodluck Jonathan that is taking MSME as one of the most important sectors of this economy.
“For the first time in history, we are treating this area as a sector. We have a new programme called the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDP) which aims to remove all the barriers and work on what would enable businesses to grow. For the first time in this country, we have raised it to the highest level. We have an MSME National Council that is chaired by the vice-president and has state governors, ministers and agencies on that council.
“The whole idea is to accelerate the development of this sector, harmonize, have better coordination and institutionalize the support we give to the sector.”
He explained that the state MSME National Council is addressing issues relating to access to finance, access to market, linking innovation and technology to SMEs in the country, and industrial skill development for SMEs.
The MITI boss commended Fidelity Bank for its role in supporting SMEs, while encouraging other banks to follow suit, saying, “The Fidelity SME forum is one of the important ways of communicating and engaging with the sector. Fidelity Bank is doing a lot to support SMEs. If you look at the record, the bank is among the top three in terms of banks that are supporting SMEs.