News

March 2, 2024

NITDA, SMEDAN to create digital database of SMEs

NITDA, SMEDAN to create digital database of SMEs

By Emmanuel Elebeke – Abuja

Determined to accelerate the agenda of diversifying the Nigerian economy, by enhancing productivity through technological innovation, the National Information and Technology Development, NITDA and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, SMEDA yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU to equip Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs with digital skills.

The move is geared towards equipping the 40 million SMEs in Nigeria with digital skills to enhance their productivity and prosperity for the nation’s economy.

This was announced during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding, MoU between the two agencies of government in Abuja.

The collaboration is expected to create a digital database of all SMEs in Nigeria for easy access and provision of direct support and incentives by NITDA and other interested sponsors.

Recall that President Bola Tinubu had on assumption office last year mandated all mainstream MDAs to accelerate diversification of Nigerian economy by enhancing productivity in critical sectors of the economy through technological innovation.

Speaking at the MoU signing at SMEDAN headquarters at Idu Industrial Layout, Abuja, the Director General of NITDA, Mallam Inuwa Kashifu said his visit was a payback visit to his SMEDAN counterpart who had earlier paid him a similar visit in his office.

Recall that the SMEDAN DG had last week visited NITDA seeking to sign MoU on a partnership aimed at scaling up Nigerian SMEs with digital skill, but NITDA requested for some time to review the MoU and promised to pay back visit.

The NITDA DG, who described SMEs as the engine room of the economy, said the proposed collaboration between the two agencies was timely and critical if the 40m SMEs in Nigeria must be up scaled to reach their full potentials and operate profitably in the local and global market.

‘‘President Tinubu has mandated our mainstream to accelerate diversification of Nigerian economy, by enhancing productivity in critical sectors through technological innovation. For me, if we really want to create prosperity for our country, we should start digitizing SMEs.

‘‘We can partner together to create data base of all SMEs in Nigeria. When you have a data base, you can easy decide incentives for them. We should know what they want, as we can use that platform to foster digital literacy because you can use technology as an SMEs to expand your market reach. If we can do this, it can really change the SMEs landscape in Nigeria,’’ he said.

‘‘In addition to that, it can help them to be part of digital economy because our target is for every Nigerian to be part of this digital economy. President Tinubu wants to transform the economy for sustainable and inclusive growth. So, he needs everyone to be on board and that is why SMEs should be our focus.

‘‘For us in IT, sector, our focus is to enhance the skills of SMEs, so that they can use innovation to build their enterprises. Technology apart from helping them to reach the local market and as well take their products and services to the global market, also can help them to come up with new business value propositions because IT on itself is a catalyst that catalyses every sector and disrupt the way we do business.

‘‘We believe with technology, we can help all SMEs to scale up and increase their productivity and create sustainable prosperity for our country,’’ he added.

Responding, the Director General of SMEDAN, Charles Odii said, ‘‘we are collaborating with anyone that is aligning with the President’s agenda for job creation, and digitizing Nigerian economy.

‘’Imagine if the 40m SMES in Nigeria are equipped with digital skills, and they employ at least 5 persons? the result will be amazing. Small businesses can actually leverage social media for sales and business expansion, and this can lead to increased income for our 40m SMEs immediately. That is why today, we want to leverage technology to formalise our SMEs and start tailoring innovative solutions to solving their problems.

‘‘We feel the best partner to do this is NITDA. Even our agric sector is powered by NITDA, so much so that they have an incubation program focused on agric sector. What we want to do is to leverage technology to upscale.

‘‘Beyond our headquarters, we want all our 36 state offices to leverage this opportunity to upscale, so much so that the son of nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody and the only way we can do that is by leveraging technology. Our goal is to leverage on digital technology to upscale the frontiers of SMEs in Nigeria across the globe.

Highlight of the visit was the signing of the MoU between the two agencies of government, led by the two DGs and facility tour of SMEDAN newly commissioned headquarters equipped with new state-of-the-art facilities for SMEs.