By Efese Jim and Naomi Omorowa
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration is committed to the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the State by providing opportunities for people to acquire skills and to be self-employed through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives and the Edo State Skills Development Agency (EdoJobs).
He said this while delivering his goodwill message at the 2022 MSMEs Opportunity Fair organized by the Small Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) in collaboration with the Edo State Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives in Benin City on Wednesday, September 7.
Obaseki, who was represented by the Commissioner of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Afishetu Braimoh, said the harmonious working relationship between the State Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the State’s Skills Development Agency has increased the opportunities available to MSMEs to thrive in the State.
According to him, the Edo State Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the Edo State Skills Development Agency have worked together to propagate the development of MSMES, providing youths with opportunities for skills acquisition and self-employment and facilitating the growth of enterprises across different sectors of the State’s economy.
“The impact of the activities led to the creation of more than 300,000 jobs in the State between 2016 till date, spanning sectors such as technology, power, agriculture, leather works, furniture making, cosmetics, fashion designing, forestry, building, among others,” he said.
The Governor emphasized that there is no gainsaying that MSMEs are the engine of a thriving economy as they remain the largest employers of labor and serve as the fulcrum for the service and productive sectors.
He added that it is for this reason that his administration designed programs and initiatives that will ensure that MSMEs flourish in the State.
Obaseki further said that the Edo State Government has actively facilitated the disbursement of credit facilities to MSMEs across key focus areas in the State to ensure sustenance of businesses and urged the participating MSMEs in the fair to take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their products, services, innovations and leverage the platform provided to market themselves with the objective of expanding their businesses.
In her remark, the First Lady of the State, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, commended the Commissioner for Industry Trade and Cooperatives for deepening the partnership with SMEDAN to organize the fair and expressed her desires for a bigger fair next year.
On his part, the Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Olawale Fasanya, said the agency, as part of its support to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) subsector of the economy, has since inception been conducting MSME fairs (local and international) for prospective and existing entrepreneurs.
He said the fairs, which are rotated annually, will give MSMEs an opportunity to showcase their products within and outside the country.
Earlier, the Commissioner, Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Afishetu Braimoh, represented by Mrs. Evelyn Imode Nekpen, Director, Trade Promotion and Marketing Department, said the Governor has agreed that the program is apt and appropriately given the theme “Expanding Market Access to Nigeria MSMEs.”
She said the need for market information, access to markets and even the harnessing of export potential are challenges connected with demand and supply which MSMEs need to tactically address.
Braimoh maintained that the program was organized to upturn these forces through aligning with the efforts of exhibitors.
Other notable speakers at the fair include the State Coordinator of GIZ, Ms. Blessing Oluwatosin Ajimoti, and Mr. Moshood Olewole, Head SME sales.
The opportunity fair is a four-day event and will climax on Saturday, September 10, 2022.