By Naomi Uzor
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), yesterday, said it is embarking on an industrial clusters development programme to support government initiatives in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector.
Speaking at the NACCIMA MSME Trade Group Breakfast Meeting, National Vice President and Chairman, NACCIMA MSME Trade Group, Engr. Adeniyi Ogunsanya, said available literature shows that industrial clusters development has become a key goal for regional economic development.
He stated: “There is evidence that clusters strengthen competitiveness by increasing productivity, stimulating innovative new partnerships (even among competitors) and presenting opportunities for entrepreneurial activity”.
The breakfast meeting, according to him, is aimed at bringing together various stakeholders in the MSME sector, namely, financial institutions, business service providers, vocational institutes, research institutes and government regulators as well as MSMEs themselves.
“The objective is to discuss public and private sector initiatives to boost the MSME sector and come up with a collaboration strategy”, he explained.
Ogunsanya also said the project, by seeking for a Public-Private-Partnership strategy, would rejuvenate the existing industrial clusters.
Speaking on the place of MSMEs in Nigerian economy, the National President of NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, said in Nigeria, MSMEs currently employ 84 per cent of the labour force and contribute 48 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She stated: “It goes without saying that improved efficiency in the MSME sector will lead to the positive socio-economic transformation of our dear country; because it is a sector that can help to improve overall productivity and provide employment. This was recognized under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) which NACCIMA supported.
“We see this medium-term plan as an opportunity to diversify our economy and stop our over-reliance on the oil and gas sector as the mainstay of our economy. Notably with regards to the MSME sector, the ERGP 2017-2020 proposes the provision of dedicated infrastructure and common facilities for MSME clusters; the reduction of regulatory obstacles MSMEs face; and the improvement of access to funds for MSMEs. This is indeed laudable,” she added.