By Sunday Bassey
The Federal Government (FG) has initiated moves to secure a $500 million African Development Bank (AfDB) fund for technology innovation, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Richard Adebayo, has said.
Adebayo, said this in an opening address at the 11th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment in Uyo on Monday.
He said the FG would also work towards the realisation of one agro processing zone in each senatorial district to encourage farmers in the country.
He also expressed committment to ensure credit access to 10 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at single digit rate and fully activate the private sector six special zones in Lekki, Enyimba, Funtua, Ibom, Kano and Benue.
Adebayo explained that the policies were meant to boost FG strategy towards the realisation of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
He said that the ministry had already initiated and implemented the One Local Government One product Programme expected to generate over 4,900 new jobs and had established three facilities to help revamp MSMEs in Sokoto, Aba and Minna.
“The National Enterprises Development Programme being implemented is generating 1,000,000 jobs annually.
“The programme is a strategic way of delivering enterprise development in the country directly addressing the critical factors that have inhibited the growth of the MSME sector.
“It is of interest to intimate the council that tremendous progress has been recorded in the areas of improved registration of enterprises, increased access of MSMEs to grants, improved capacity of MSMEs and job creation opportunities amongst others.
“There are over 100,000 MSMEs registered under the Business Innovative and Growth (BIG) platform, which is the only channel through which MSMEs can access the project intervention programme,’’ he said.
The Minister expressed the hope that the Council meeting would help in articulating pragmatic means of repositioning the Small and Medium Scale businesses for alleviating poverty and uplifting of Nigeria to the next level of economic development.
Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom stated that ongoing construction of a coconut plantation and refinery and the Ibom Deep Sea Port projects were programmes aimed at providing massive direct and indirect employment opportunities for skilled manpower.
Emmanuel said his government was committed to boost power supply, essential for industrial sustenance by feeding 153MW of electricity to the national grid and building four distribution sub stations across the state.
Also speaking, Mr Ukpong Akpabio, the state commissioner for Trade and Investment, said the state government remained committed to raising at least 30,000 viable MSMEs before 2023.
Akpabio said that the government had recently approved project called “Ibom 3,000” as an operational scheme to identify and train 3,000 MSME beneficiaries drawn from across the state.
According to him, the training wil be on at least one industry skill in the first phase of the programme which will begin in January 2020. (NAN)