The First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, says that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are keys to economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanwo-Olu said this in Ikeja on Sunday during the closing ceremony of the 5th Edition of the Lagos State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Exclusive Fair.
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The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the fair is: “MSMEs in the Time of COVID-19: Survival Strategies to Beat the Odds.”
She said that the theme was carefully selected to prepare members of the sector for the challenges foisted on the world by the unanticipated and unexpected crisis brought about by COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, the idea of the exclusive fair is in furtherance to the commitment to enhance the profitability of MSMEs in line with the vision of the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
“Although the global economy is slowly recovering from the downward trend occasioned by the pandemic, the fact remains that many economies are still contending with the sordid realities of a health crisis.
“For the emerging success story in terms of economic recovery to be sustained, the MSME sector has a key role to play.
“Like in other economies, the MSME in Nigeria is the heart of the nation’s economy and is an important determinant to future prosperity.
“This is the reason the MSME Exclusive Fair is apt and rightly focused on how players in the sector can embrace sustainable innovation towards surmounting the challenges of the present times.
“You must continually strive to innovate, copy from the best and go a step further to be the best,” she said.
In her remarks, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Lola Akande, urged MSMEs to be more dynamic in their operations for improved business profitability.
Akande said that it had been reported that up to 80 per cent of businesses in Nigeria failed in their first year.
She said that this number had been undoubtedly increased by the COVID-19 pandemic due to disruptions in global supply chains and local logistics.
According to her, cases of mass employee retrenchment, the closure and restructuring of traditional markets, reduction in consumer buying power and health and safety concerns had been reported.
Akande said that innovation and education were integral to the survival and relevance of businesses in today’s fast paced world.
She encouraged the MSME operators to take advantage of widely available electronic learning through online courses, webinars and similar resources available on the internet.
”We know that the way we do business has been changed abruptly and irreversibly by the pandemic.
”So while we celebrate your resilience until this moment, we must also enjoin you to be dynamic and innovative, as the new business environment demands.
”Now, more than ever, the digitisation of your business is increasingly essential.
“For aspects or types of businesses that cannot be completely digitised, the relevant health and safety measures must be prioritised in the workplace.
”Face masks, hand washing and maintaining social distance must be adhered to, so as to prevent further business disruption and more importantly, the avoidable loss of lives,” she said.