Operations of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have been crippled by the 8.99 per cent release of its 2016 capi...
Operations of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have been crippled by the 8.99 per cent release of its 2016 capital budget.
Its Director-General (DG), Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, made this known while presenting the agency’s progress report to House of Representatives members who visited the Industrial Development Centre (IDC) office in Lagos.
According to Radda, SMEDAN had N193.9 million as its 2016 appropriation for overhead, and capital vote of N1.79billion.
He said of the N193.9 million slated for overhead, only N121 million was released to the agency while a meagre sum of N161million was released to date out of the N1.79 billion appropriated for capital project.
He said based on the releases to the agency, budget performance stood at 61.25 per cent for overhead and 8.99 per cent for capital, adding that the total expenditure for overhead as at December 13, 2016 were N118 million and N161 million for capital.
Other issues raised by the DG included the establishment of an affordable and sustainable funding for MSME’s development in Nigeria.
This, according to him, will include soft loan, matching grants and interest-free loans for their development.
This, he said, would reduce the funding gap for MSME’s in Nigeria estimated to be in the region of N9 trillion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He emphasised the need for an improved funding of the agency, if the job creation organisation was to achieve its lofty objectives like its counterparts in other parts of the world.
He said emphasis should be on statutory funding of 0.5 per cent tax on some imported finished products that could be locally produced. He explained that additional funding would be used in the areas of capacity building for MSME’s, strengthening of nationwide structures for MSME’s, monitoring and evaluation and impact assessment programme, empowerment for MSME’s and provision of common facilities, among others.
Radda also advocated government’s provision of technological support for MSME’s in the areas of ICT, promotion research, development and innovation, promotion of technology commercialisation platform.
He also listed other areas of immediate concern to MSME subsector to include funding of Business Development Services (BDC), which encompasses training and skills upgrading programme in the areas of MSME’s-University Internship programme.
Responding, Chairman, House Committee on Industry, Hon. Hussaini Moriki, commended the management of SMEDAN, who in spite of lean financial resources, managed to impact on the MSME’s.
The committee, he said, was impressed with the presentation of the DG, promising to intervene to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the challenges of the agency, which he described as the key to the actualisation of the government drive to diversify the economy and create the needed jobs for the growing unemployed in the country.
He said the committee would look into the amendment of the Act establishing the agency to give it more power to develop the MSME sector of the economy.
The House Committee members later undertook a tour of the IDC in Ikorodu, where they lamented the encroachment of the centre and promised to take appropriate action.