By Yinka Kolawole
The Federal Government is planning to tackle challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through development of industrial clusters, with particular regard to accessing work space and common amenities like internet access, water, power, roads etc.
Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, stated this at the launching of a study on the viability of the existing Industrial Development Centres in preparation for redeveloping and transforming them into industrial clusters in Abuja.
Abubakar noted that the underlying objective of the project was to establish state of the art Common Infrastructure Facility Centres aimed at resolving some challenges facing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with particular regard to accessing work space and common amenities like internet access, water, power, roads etc.
She stated: “This is projected to improve the global competiveness of our SMEs, by reducing overhead costs and enjoying economies of scale as is usually the case with clusters.”
The minister added that the establishment of industrial clusters will fast-track the realization of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government.
In his welcome remark, Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, said the agency considered turning the industrial Development Centres (IDCs) to Industrial Clusters to address the problem of work space for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and promote economics of scale derivable from the agglomeration of critical mass of enterprises.
Also speaking, Senior Director, Country Department of African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Ebrima Faal, represented by Principal Private Sector Specialist, Mr Emmanuel Akinwumi, said the launch of the study signified the commitment of the government and AfDB towards finding ways of growing Nigeria’s economy through shared infrastructure and promoting industry, trade and investment as support to economic diversification and SME development.
The study which is sponsored by a grant of approximately $600,000 or N183 million secured from the Middle-income Country Technical Assistance Fund of AfDB, is the first to be granted to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment/SMEDAN to encourage and improve sustainable entrepreneurial development specifically targeted at SMEs in the country.