The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment in promoting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) across the country.
Adebayo disclosed this during the opening of the 34th edition of the Enugu International Fair, organised by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), on Saturday in Enugu.
The theme for this year’s fair is “Harnessing Nigerian Human Capital Resources for Global Economic Advancement”.
Declaring the fair open, the Minister said the Federal Government had adopted policies designed to promote MSMEs which currently represent 96% of the businesses in Nigeria and contribute 75% of the National employment.
According to him, the growth in this sector is directly correlated with growth in the economy as a whole and in the level of employment throughout Nigeria.
Adebayo, represented by the Deputy Director, Multinational of the Ministry, Dr Sunday Jaja, added that nurtured and well-structured MSMEs sub-sector can contribute significantly to employment generation, wealth creation, poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government has established SMEs survival fund which the Ministry is chairing the steering Committee.
“In addition, Government has also adopted Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), with the aim of sustaining economic growth and development as well as optimizing local content and empowering local businesses to compete globally.
“The people of Enugu State and South-East Nigeria should take advantage of opportunities provided by the advent of African Continental Trade Agreement (AfCTA), export Market to produce quality goods and services for export to other African countries,” he said.
The Minister, however, congratulated the ECCIMA for organizing the 34th edition of the fair as it had witnessed tremendous improvement and introduced numerous innovations.
In his Goodwill message, the National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr John Udeagbala, said a nation without a deliberate human capital development cannot sustain meaningful economic development.
Udeagbala, represented by the President, Southeast Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr Humphrey Ngonadi, said the most impressive performance of the economy of most developed and newly industrialised countries is the commitment to human capital development.
“A nation which is unable to develop skills and knowledge of its people and utilize them effectively in nation building will be unable to develop anything else.
“The advancement we see in science and technology and every other field today is the strategic commitment to human capital development. When human capital development is properly harnessed and leveraged upon, it could lead the country to sustained prosperity.
“Therefore, if Nigeria wants to achieve meaningful and sustainable, it must begin to aggressively develop its human capital for inclusive growth of the economy,” he said.
Earlier, the President of ECCIMA, Mr Jasper Nduagwuike, said that the chamber, under the 16th Council, was proud of how far they have come as it could only get better before the end of the year, adding that a full exhibition centre would be standing on the trade fair ground.
He said the pavilion under construction may not have been completed the way it was planned, but that any unbiased observer would congratulate the chamber for having come this far in spite of the most daunting challenges.
He said, “It gladdens my heart that this occasion is holding despite the onerous odds that challenged it. These odds include the political situation in the country, the misadventure of the cashless policy which threw spanners into the works of every project”.
Nduagwuike also used the opportunity to turn the sod for the Enugu computer village, a multi-billion naira project guaranteed to change the landscape of Enugu and increase commercial activities to a level never before envisaged.
“So relax, network, consummate deals, and generally enjoy the ambience and hospitality of the coal city state,” Nduagwuike stated.
The Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) was established in 1963 for the promotion and protection of Commerce and Industry.
The highlights of the event include the inauguration of computer village and construction of centre pavilion at the trade fair by the Minister.