By Yinka Kolawole
THE United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), through its Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO), has initiated a programme in partnership with public and private sector institutions aimed at upgrading the financial literacy of micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
A statement by UNIDO noted that the move is aimed at implementing United Nations’ third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) which emphasizes the importance of industrialization in to sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and accelerated development in Africa.
UNIDO ITPO Nigeria recently held a number of workshops on the use of UNIDO tools and methodologies for the preparation and appraisal of investment projects, both with private sector organizations and governmental agencies in the country. UNIDO said five such workshops were organised across Nigeria, one each in Lagos and Kano, while three were held in Abuja.
“The aim of these workshops is to help Nigeria prepare for the IDDA3 at a grassroots level. Governments, financial institutions and entrepreneurs require properly prepared feasibility studies in order to make sound investment decisions. From the perspective of entrepreneurs, the most important factor is that they are “bank-ready.” Many Nigerian start-ups do not survive because they cannot cope with the financial aspects of business. The problem of financial literacy affects a range of actors, starting with university graduates who cannot find jobs, to existing MSMEs, which cannot find the resources to grow.
“These five workshops were the first stage in the creation of several centres of excellence within financial institutions in Nigeria. Through these centres, MSMEs will be provided training in project formulation and appraisal with the application of UNIDO’s COMFAR Lite software to introduce the latest international accounting standards,” Adebisi Olumodimu of UNIDO ITPO Nigeria disclosed.
In a related development, UNIDO said it is ready to support the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government by strengthening the small and medium-scale enterprise (SMS) sector through entrepreneurship training programmes.
UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, Nigeria Regional Office Hub, Jean Bakole, said: “UNIDO is ready to support the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) in facilitating job creation by implementing entrepreneurship training programme to strengthen the SME sector in Nigeria.”
Bakole said beneficiaries will be taught by specialised resource people who are trained by UNIDO specifically for the project.”Already, UNIDO has trained 41 trainers drawn from fifteen entrepreneurship development institutions in private and public sectors organisations, two universities and two banks from sixteen states and the FCT, completing the first phase of the trainer’s training programme,” she added.