Olawale Fasanya, director-general of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), said the agency would continue to support entrepreneurs to create jobs and alleviate poverty in Nigeria.
Mr Fasanya said this during the flag-off of the Women In Self Empowerment Empowerment Programme (WISE-P) in Katsina on Sunday.
Represented by Ado Bello, the director of enterprises and promotions of the agency, the DG said the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) subsector played a critical role in the transformation of the Nigerian economy.
According to him, MSMEs account for the highest jobs created and poverty alleviation in the country.
He said a national survey conducted in 2020 showed that 39.6 MSMEs employed 62.5 million people in the country, representing 80.2 per cent of the national labour force.
He said to ensure access to finance, MSMEs and SMEDAN were partnering with a non-governmental organisation and the African Centre for Global Entrepreneurial Leadership (ACGEL) to implement the Leadership Entrepreneurial Game Show (LEGS).
“The agency is also partnering with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Jaiz Bank and Sterling Bank to access the matching fund for micro and small enterprises,” he said.
Mr Fasanya noted that SMEDAN had implemented a specialised skills programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), retirees and prison inmates in six states.
He said the states included Ondo, Imo, Katsina, Borno, Rivers, and Niger.
According to him, 240 persons were supported with entrepreneurial and vocational skills, and 40 benefitted in the states.