Abuja, Feb. 6, 2024: The Nigeria and Germany have agreed to strengthen their collaboration to boost Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
The Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite said this during a bilateral meeting organised by the ministry and the German Ministry of Economic Development on Monday in Abuja.
Uzoka-Anite acknowledged the existing partnership between both countries and expressed optimism for a stronger tie that would foster stronger mutually beneficial relationship between them.
“We are very happy to receive you here and as we already mentioned in the side meeting, you are interested in renewable energy, agriculture, increasing access to finance for MSME.
“And that will be a major booster for the industrial sector of the economy.
`The President (Bola Tinubu) is highly committed to and ensuring that the economy turns around job creation, poverty alleviation, inclusiveness, ensuring renewables.
“And all of these gears to increasing food, capital, investment in the country and boosting industrialisation,’’ she said.
According to the minister, to add more weight to Federal Government’s commitment, the president recently formed the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalisation, which is chaired by the Minister of Finance.
Uzoka-Anite said: “in that we have about 11 point agenda where we are looking at all the different sectors of the economy and looking at how to revive the economy via all of these different sectors.
“The MSME segment cuts across all of the sectors and we know that if we can improve the SMEs we are immediately contributing about 45 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP.
“So, your coming to partner and support us in this development is a major booster to the presidential ambition to grow the economy to a one trillion economy.
“And see a GDP growth rate of almost seven per cent within a period of four to five years.
Responding, the German Minister, Ms Svenja Schulze, said Nigeria was one of the first countries Germany partnered with as early as 1959, and this collaboration had deepened to the benefit of both countries.
“Our cooperation, I want to point out again, is in our common interest.
“Nigeria is Africa’s largest and most populous economy, Germany is an export nation, we are interested in growing markets, so some 90 German companies are already active here in Nigeria.
“And one reason is that Nigeria has so many creative young people and that is what companies like to have and why they are here,’’ she said.
According to Schulze, Nigeria is currently facing security challenges which are overridden by conflicts of resources, climate change and population growth.
“And we all know that the core of these conflicts cannot be resolved by military means alone.
“The underlying causes must be addressed and this includes such as jobs, energy, food security and efforts to strengthen the rights of women.
“ We are aligned in the fight against terrorist. We already have a good cooperation, we have a lot of programmes we do a lot of things together and we want to deepen our cooperation
“And I just want to thank you for the exchange and we are looking forward to deepening our cooperation,’’ she said.
For his part, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to thrive small businesses in the country.
“This bilateral meeting essentially put together by the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment and her counterpart, the German Minister of Economic Development and Cooperation, is one among series of interactions.
“This time, it aims at discussions on cooperation and bilateral support with regard to MSMEs in particular and economic cooperation in general across sectors.
“The sectors include agriculture, energy, particularly solar power and entrepreneurship skill development particularly for small-scale businesses and women led businesses,’’ Edun said.
The minister expressed hope that by the next meeting, scheduled for May, more agreements would be completed, and actual funds would be made available.
On taxes, Edun said it was a civic duty and the funds was necessary to improve the economy, increase productivity, create jobs, reduce poverty and carry out other government responsibilities.
According to him, the level of tax to GDP, the level of taxation that is collected, relative to the amount of economic activity Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world at 13 per cent.
He said across Africa, it was about 25 per cent while developed world and rich countries like Germany, it was over 50 per cent of GDP.
“ This is collected by the government by way of tax and it facilitates there investment, social infrastructure and social services and welfare as a whole.
“So there is no getting away from the fact that adequate tax must be levied, adequate tax must be paid,’’ he said.
On increasing price of goods, the minister who said it was of great concern to the government and Nigerians, added that steps were being taken the government to ameliorate it.
“A lot of emphasis is placed on increasing agricultural production in particular.
“The president has intervened in that sector to provide grains, fertilizer to farmers, to bring additional increase to rice, maize wheat and cassava under additional production.
“In order to increase the output and bring down prices and that will help bring down inflation and of course, we are in the middle of the dry season farming.
“So we are looking forward to good dry season harvest that will help to ameliorate food prices in particular and the price level in Nigeria in general,’’ Edun said.