By Ahmed Rahma
For Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to survive, they must be allowed to operate in a favourable business environment.
The Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, said this at a workshop held for small business owners in the country recently.
The event was organised by the Bank of Industry (BoI) in partnership with Procter and Gamble (P&G) and had in attendance the Vice President of Nigeria, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, amongst others.
The Minister, in his presentation, assured that, “The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is committed to providing SMEs with the required support and trainings needed to consistently project their businesses in an upward trajectory.
“We achieve this through information-driven support vital in building a better playing field for commerce in the entire nation.
“We are grateful to organisations like Procter & Gamble for their continuous efforts towards transforming their communities of operations through proactive projects like the SME Academy.”
Business Post reports that over SMEs were granted access to trainings during the 2021 P&G – BoI SME Academy, which had a panel session themed SME Development and Growth as a Precursor to Nation Building.
In his keynote address, the Vice President said, “The federal government believes wholeheartedly that SMEs are the bedrock of the economy and we are constantly aiming to support innovations that can help SMEs grow and in turn groom the economy and provide job opportunities.
“The government has been working diligently and creatively on engaging the most vulnerable businesses, especially during this current crisis.
“We thank P&G and BoI for this proactive initiative designed to ensure a better Nigeria.”
On his part, the Managing Director of BoI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, disclosed that, “The maiden edition was held in October 2019. This second edition and the first virtual event has been expanded to incorporate structured trainings.
“This initiative has become particularly important in this era of the covid-19 pandemic and current global economic challenges, which has left many SME businesses struggling to survive now.
“The Bank of Industry remains committed to transforming Nigeria’s economic sector through funding, strategic partnerships and strengthening of our technology and operations.”
For the MD of P&G Nigeria, Mr Adil Farhat, efforts must be made to continuously support SMEs in Nigeria as they have the potential to outrightly transform the country.
“In line with the focus of Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan to drive industrialisation and economic growth through globally competitive SMEs, P&G in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Trade, industry and investment and the Bank of Industry launched the SME Academy to improve their standard, ensure longevity, and facilitate integration into global value chains.
“For over 27 years in Nigeria, P&G has consistently partnered with the Nigerian government to promote strong investor policies and practices that drive inclusive growth, jobs, and welfare of Nigerian citizens,” Mr Farhat said.
Over the years, P&G has maintained a significant manufacturing investment in Nigeria with their plants in Lagos and Ibadan and general offices in Lagos. The organisation’s operations generate over 4,000 direct and indirect jobs and create over 300 SMEs with sustained training programs.
The people are its greatest assets with over 95 per cent local employees and 50 per cent female representation at managerial levels.