FG Set To Implement NASME’s N1bn Youth, Women Empowerment Fund

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FG Set To Implement NASME’s N1bn Youth, Women Empowerment Fund
FG Set To Implement NASME’s N1bn Youth, Women Empowerment Fund

The Federal Government has stated that it is set to implement the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterpris­es (NASME) one billion Naira each for the Youth and Women Empowerment Fund.

Dr Doris Anite, Minister of Industry, Trade and Invest­ment, said this at the 2023 West Africa SMEs Exhibition in Abuja.

The event has as its theme, “MSMEs 4.0: Enhancing Qual­ity, Productivity, Competitive­ness, Resilience, and Sustain­ability in an Era of Digital Transformation”.

Anite, represented by the Di­rector-General, Small and Me­dium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odii, said that the gov­ernment was also set to estab­lish a technology incubation hub in Abuja.

According to her, the initia­tive aims to generate more one million jobs across various eco­nomic sectors in the country.

“These initiatives are a testa­ment to our commitment to fos­tering entrepreneurship, creat­ing employment opportunities, and significantly contributing to the growth of our nation’s economy.

“This is with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and SMEDAN part­nering with NASMEs and with the endorsement of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” she said. The West Africa SMEs Exhibition will serve as a vital platform, bringing together in­dustry leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders.

FG Set To Implement NASME’s N1bn Youth, Women Empowerment Fund

“It will help to harness the potential of the African Con­tinental Free Trade Area (Af­CFTA), promote trade, foster economic development, and create new opportunities for businesses across the West African region,” she said. The minister commended the or­ganisers of the event for their dedication towards advancing the economic growth, entrepre­neurship, and sustainability ofthe MSMEs sector.

“I express my sincere grati­tude to NASME, ECOWAS, UNI­DO ITPO Nigeria and SMEDAN for extending this invitation. This event signifies a signifi­cant milestone in our collec­tive pursuit of empowering and transforming the Nano, Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enter­prise’s sector in Nigeria and the broader West African region”.

Dr Nasir Raji, the Direc­tor-General, National Produc­tivity Centre, expressed opti­mism that the objective of the initiative would be realised while congratulating the organ­isers of the event.

He also reiterated the com­mitment of the centre to sup­porting members and the NAS­MEs where necessary. Also speaking, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, NASMEs, Ubadig­bo Okonkwo, highlighted the various challenges faced by small businesses in Nigeria and Africa.

According to him, every government in Africa must en­sure microeconomic stability to allow SMEs to grow. ”Economic diversification based on SMEs is also an important factor. Trade integration is another key factor that will help African economy to grow.

Now we have embraced AF­CFTA, it is the way to go to grow our various enemies in Afri­ca. Earlier, the President and Chairman Governing Council of NASMEs, Dr Abdulrashid Yerima, said the role of the ex­hibition was to invite MSMEs in technology to meet with in­vestors, grant providers and financial institutions.

According to Yerima, the exhibition will also provide a platform for them to engage and identify businesses they want to be supported.

He said the one billion Naira empowerment fund was targeted towards providing vocational edu­cation to youths and women in the areas of clean technology, renew­able energy, digital innovation.

The three-day programme was attended by exhibitors from different West Africa countries, and stakeholders in the sector.