By Ogine Victor
As part of a sustained effort geared towards reviving the Nigerian economy post-COVID-19, the Federal government has disclosed that it is ready to partner with stakeholders to improve MSME participation in the economy through improving the business climate which will create jobs and better the lots of many Nigerians.
Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment made this disclosure at the 7th EMPRETEC Global Summit; themed “The Role of Entrepreneurship, MSME and EMPRETEC in post-COVID-19 Resurgence”.
The Minister who described the MSME sector as the growth engine of any economy said that “An MSMEs survey indicates that Nigeria’s SMEs contribute nearly 50 percent of the country’s GDP and account for over 80 percent of employment. No doubt, the sector is pivotal to Nigeria’s growth, including reducing poverty and unemployment levels.
It has, therefore, become more apparent that supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses by creating opportunities for MSMEs to thrive is essential for increasing productivity, creating jobs, and boosting our economy.
This is why the Government is working with stakeholders across all sectors, to create the enabling environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs to ensure that they grow now and into the future,” she stated.
The move by the Federal government becomes necessary after statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nigeria’s unemployment rate as of the end of 2020 rose to 33.3% from 27.1% recorded as of Q2 2020, indicating that about 23,187,389 (23.2 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.
A combination of both the unemployment and underemployment rate for the reference period gave a figure of 56.1%. This means that 33.3% of the labour force in Nigeria or 23,187,389 persons either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed by our definition in Nigeria.