By G9ija

The Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has reiterated the commitment of the state to the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state.

He spoke during the official opening of the fith Edition of the Lagos State MSMEs Exclusive Fair organised by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives,  at LTV Blue Roof, Alausa, Ikeja.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, the governor said MSMEs are the catalyst of the state’s industralisation drive, assuring that the government will give attention to the sector.

He said: “Unarguably, the MSME sector is the backbone of the Nigerian economy and a foremost catalyst of our state’s industralisation drive responsible for production and value addition in manufacturing, trade and commercial services.

“Our MSMEs, indeed have not only contributed significantly to our economic regeneration but also to employment and wealth creation, poverty alleviation and qualitative standards of living” the governor said.

He said the theme of the event: MSMEs in the Time of Covid19: Survival Strategies to Beat the Odds was  apt.

given the importance and roles MSMEs can play as a springboard for economic recovery, stating that the global economy is currently facing a major crisis that is projected to get deeper due to the Covid19 pandemic, hence the need to look inward for solutions.

He however urged the MSMEs to start thinking more strategically with technology as digital capabilities are the key drivers in surviving the challenges posed by the Covid19 pandemic.

He maintained that customers are relying solely on online business to get the products and services they need while at the same time trying to stay safe.

According to the Governor “Today, more than ever before, the business world is going digital and business owners who are leveraging digital presence to offer and deliver their services have a huge advantage. This is the perfect chance to make a transition into the digital space and get your business the support it needs”.

Governor Sanwo-Olu assured that the government will continue to formulate enterprises-friendly policies and develop the requisite infrastructure with a positive business environment that will enhance the competitiveness and productivity of the creative and productive private enterprise.

In her address the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr. Mrs Lola Akande stated that the MSMEs sector provides about 48 percent of the GDP of Nigeria and accounts for 96 percent of businesses. Lagos state, she observed, has the highest number of MSMEs (11,663) and 3,224,324 micro-enterprises.

She noted that the Fair is part of Government’s effort to continually provide support to entrepreneurs and business owners in order to mitigate challenges faced by business owners.

Akande said efforts by the state to encourage MSMEs include the mandate to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) to provide affordable loans to MSMES at a reduced interest rate, three months moratorium on loan accessed by MSMEs through LSETF as a palliative measure to cushion the effect of Covid19 pandemic.

The President of the Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mrs Gertrude Akhimein appreciated the State Government’s efforts towards the growth and development of the MSME sector, while stating the Association’s continuous support and cooperation for the Lagos State Government.