Nigeria values matchmaking to spur small firms

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The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku, says  matchmaking and linkage programmes will enhance opportunities for Small all and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Sadiku made the assertion during a two-day training/matchmaking/ of SMEs with Large Local Corporates (LLC) and Multinational Enterprises (MNEs).

The event was organised by NIPC and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in Lagos.

Sadiku, who was represented by an Assistant Director of NIPC, Mrs Edit Udofia, said that both SMEDAM and NIPC had been engaging different categories of entrepreneurs on  linkage programmes in the last few months.

“The first phase of action plan which was the pilot programme was agreed to focus on agro-industry / agro allied machineries, metal and foundry, plastic and rubber, electrical and industry services, and to be later spread to other sectors.

“After signing Memorandum of Understanding  between NIPC and SMEDAN in January 2019, a Joint Technical Committee was inaugurated for the implementation of the work plan.

” NIPC was to provide technical support and take the lead in the organisation of the stakeholders’ engagement which took place in August 2019.

The Director -General of SMEDAN, Dr Umaru-Dikko Radda, said that  the programme was designed to encourage and promote producers of industrial input that could  be used as industrial raw materials by large companies (MNEs/LLCs).

Radda said the programme was to forge linkages that emphasised technology partnerships, and to support  upgrading of local SMEs capacity.

He said that the programme would encourage creation of new backward linkages with local suppliers as well as deepen and upgrade existing backward linkages with suppliers.

Radda said that matchmaking event was aimed at bringing together both SMEs and MNEs as well as LLC to provide opportunities and  determine possible challenges for low patronage of SMEs by MNEs and LLC in order to reach a compromise for matching.

“The first phase of the matchmaking events took place in North West (Kano) and South West (Lagos). The Kano event took place on Dec 5, 2019, and the Lagos event is what is happening here today,” Radda said.

A former Chairman, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Osun branch, Mr Ali Alabi, commended the efforts of SMEDAN and NIPC in improving  the capacities of SMEs.

Alabi said that the programme would enable SMEs markets to be known, adding that  it would also improve their productions.

He urged robust networking among  SMEs, MNEs and LLCs to enable them to remain in business.

Alabi said that for small businesses to thrive,  there should be hand holding from government and big enterprises.