Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: National Enterprise Programme to Provide Five Million Jobs By 2015

No fewer than five million jobs would be created under the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) by 2015.

The Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Alhaji Bature Masari, made this disclosure yesterday ahead of the launch of the NEDEP and the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) today by President Goodluck Jonathan, at the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja.

Masari said the programme being implemented under three pillars;technical/vocational skills acquisition, business development services (BDS), entrepreneur training and access to finance would be achieved through the establishment of sustainable MSMEs in the 774 local government areas based on comparative and competitive advantages.

According to him, the BDS/ Entrepreneur training components of NEDEP was being anchored under the One Local Government One Product (OLOP) Programme with the aim of revitalising the rural economy and alleviating poverty in rural areas in Nigeria.Commenting on the impact of the programme so far, Masari added that 10,917 cooperative societies have been formed and registered , another 163,755 new entrepreneurs have also been created out of the cooperative societies formed, while 491,265 new jobs have so far been created.

He enumerated other benefits of the programme to include the entrenchment of entrepreneurial culture, economic development, industrialisation of rural areas, industrial clusters development and increased MSME's contribution to GDP, export potentials, crime reduction, wealth creation and political stability.

The SMEDAN DG informed that the agency has conducted sensitisation/needs assessment programme in 22 states and was presently conducting baseline survey and value- chain analysis in six pilot states of Lagos, Bayelsa, Anambra, Kano Benue, and Bauchi.

He also noted that over 1,000 cooperative groups and their business plans were currently being handed over to the Bank of Industry (BOI) for appraisal and eventual financing, while thousands more were in the process of been finalised.

Commenting on the impact of the programme so far, Masari added that 10,917 cooperative societies have been formed and registered , another 163,755 new entrepreneurs have also been created out of the cooperative societies formed, while 491,265 new jobs have so far been created.

He therefore enjoined the members of the National Assembly to support and partner with SMEDAN in the implementation of the NEDEP to ensure that the benefits of the programme accrued to their constituents.

" The initiative is aimed at consolidating the gains of Nigeria's strong economic growth as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, in the last decade which has placed the country as a top investment destination in the African continent," Masari said.

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