Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has underscored the need to increase patronage of locally made products and also expand the capacity of Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the State, assuring that his administration will continue to pay greater attention to the sector.
The Governor who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Dr. Olajide Bashorun, made this known during the Lagos Small Business Summit held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He described the theme of the summit “Creating exponential institutions: how government and small businesses can keep up with the market” as very apt considering the need for effective partnership between government institutions and the organized stakeholders in Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs.
Governor Ambode explained that the summit throws a challenge to all players, both public and private, to look inwards and develop the internal and external capacities of other sectors for steady growth and global competitiveness.
While making case for the informal sector, Ambode said “we must significantly reduce our taste for foreign-made goods because it is detrimental to the survival and growth of SMEs and their capacity to create wealth and generate employment for our teeming unemployed youths.
He listed several incentives provided to operators of SMEs under the present administration, saying that tradesmen and artisans in different vocations recently completed a training programme organized by the State Government to further enhance their capacity.
“During the celebration of the 2017 Day for artisans and tradesmen few weeks back, I directed the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State Government to henceforth, accord greater recognition to members of the informal sector in terms of increasing patronage for the products of SMEs in line with the State’s ‘Buy Made in Nigeria Campaign’ ‘’the Governor stated.
He added that the State government had also resolved to engage the services of small and medium scale artisans in the execution of government contracts.
According to him, the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment was established by the current administration to implement policies aimed at enhancing the capacity of SMEs to harness their contribution to economic growth and development.
He also said that the Employment Trust Fund was set up to address the challenge of lack of access to funding, stressing that the responses from applicants of the initiative show that young people are willing to take advantage of opportunities when given.
“As we speak, over N3.5billion Naira has been disbursed to over 6,000 beneficiaries who are at different stages of executing their businesses plan” he stated.
He assured participants at the summit that government will continue to promote opportunities for MSMEs to thrive by focusing on the development of infrastructure and its processes to improve and enhance the competitiveness and productivity of MSMEs in the State.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, Planning Committee of the 2017 SME 100 Nigeria, Lagos Small Business Summit, Mr. Tope Adekoya commended the Governor for prioritizing the development of small businesses and for his willingness to help these businesses thrive.
He explained that the idea of bringing all relevant stakeholders together at the Summit is basically to foster discussions on how to build a more successful, industrious and entrepreneurial State.