MSME Day: As technology unlocks economic value for small enterprises, By Zeenat Sambo - Premium Times Nigeria

27/06/2022 10:56:00 PM

MSME Day: As technology unlocks economic value for small enterprises, By Zeenat Sambo

MSME Day: As technology unlocks economic value for small enterprises, By Zeenat Sambo

Technology has a huge effect on the ability of businesses and governments to harness natural resources and use them in the most effective ways possible to benefit themselves and the economy. This is why Nigerian technology agencies need to sustain awareness campaigns for MSMEs to adopt the use of technology aimed at facilitating the digital

World MSME DayThe project, as outlined, provides MSMEs with affordable shared access to essential amenities such as power, high quality operating equipment, and broadband connectivity, as government works to reduce the cost of operation of small businesses across the country. This is applicable to all MSMEs, which are free to participate in the scheme.

With all these unyielding support and encouragement, it is important to note that in this digital age, the incorporation of MSMEs into Nigeria’s digital ecosystem is unavoidable for sustainable development.With technological advancement and the internet penetration in Nigeria, it is evident that the awareness around MSMEs has increased, but they still need more engagement. As consumers migrate to the Internet for everything from gifts to groceries, companies/busineses with physical storefronts are now also creating online stores to extend their visibility and reach target markets beyond their local communities.

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As the world celebrates Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Day every June 27, this is a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly to serve as a reminder that small enterprises provide sustainable development goals, encourage innovation, provide livelihoosd to millions, and are essential for the economic wellbeing of any society. The theme of this year’s World MSME Day is “Resilience and Rebuilding: MSMEs for Sustainable Development. Findings by Daily Trust on Sunday show that the market has an economic importance to the entire community and serving as a major source of revenue to both Taraba State and Gassol Local Government.” Global experts have not only recognised the day as a way forward for MSMEs as major contributors to the world economy but to also indulge MSMEs in digital inclusion and visibility. In the letter, the group commended Buba Marwa, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on his efforts to tackle drug trafficking and abuse in the country. The recent initiative by the Federal Government in acknowledging and contributing to the development of MSMEs in the country is remarkable. Apart from hundreds of cattle breeders and herdsmen, merchants from different parts of the country also conduct their business in the market. In commemoration of the World MSME Day, the Nigerian government announced a plan to establish at least one Shared MSMEs Facility in every state of the federation. He said the equipment will be delivered on Monday, June 27.

With over five shared facilities currently in operation, the project is said to help improve engagements between government and MSMEs, to contribute more to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and inspire prospective business owners to strive for excellence. The chairman of the market, Julde Aboki, told our correspondent that Tella attracted hundreds of merchants across the state and even beyond. “We join the generality of Nigerians to commend your efforts and congratulate you on the occasion of the 2022 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse for the victories you have won in the fight against drug abuse. The project, as outlined, provides MSMEs with affordable shared access to essential amenities such as power, high quality operating equipment, and broadband connectivity, as government works to reduce the cost of operation of small businesses across the country. This is applicable to all MSMEs, which are free to participate in the scheme. Aboki said the market operated all year round and buyers made choices, depending on their financial capabilities. Additionally, the director general of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Olawale Fasanya, also related how the government further plans to focus more on startups in the agricultural sector and women-led enterprises in Nigeria in order to enhance its economic diversification policy.”. He said: “As the world marks the 2022 MSME Day, we remain unyielding in strengthening MSMEs and startups, particularly in agriculture, agro-based industries, as well as youth and women-led enterprises”. He disclosed that more than 3,000 cattle were sold in the market on a weekly basis.

With all these unyielding support and encouragement, it is important to note that in this digital age, the incorporation of MSMEs into Nigeria’s digital ecosystem is unavoidable for sustainable development. MSMEs are business entities that have about seventy-five employees or fewer. Aboki further said that many people, including youths, earned a living in the market from the activities of buyers and sellers. In addition to employing a large percentage of labour in Nigeria, the sector has also been able to drive inventions leading to an increase in job creation, while also highlighting the important role of technology in economic growth. According to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), small and medium enterprises in Nigeria contributed about 48 per cent of the national GDP in the last five years. Also, there are drivers who go to villages to transport the cattle to the market and those that take the animals to different parts of the country, especially the East. With a total number of about 17.

4 million MSMEs, they account for about 50 per cent of industrial jobs and nearly 90 per cent in the manufacturing sector. According to him, looking at the number of cattle sold in the market, the Taraba State Government and Gassol Local Government are making huge money. With technological advancement and the internet penetration in Nigeria, it is evident that the awareness around MSMEs has increased, but they still need more engagement. As consumers migrate to the Internet for everything from gifts to groceries, companies/busineses with physical storefronts are now also creating online stores to extend their visibility and reach target markets beyond their local communities. He said that during the rainy season, all businesses would be conducted inside the rain because of the absence of any building. Despite numerous challenges such as inadequate working capital, stiff competition from larger companies, difficulties in sourcing raw materials, low capacity utilisation, among other challenges faced by MSMEs, their significance to the Nigerian economy cannot be overemphasised. With technological advancement and the internet penetration in Nigeria, it is evident that the awareness around MSMEs has increased, but they still need more engagement. He bemoaned the incessant attacks on cattle merchants by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East, especially Anambra State.

As consumers migrate to the Internet for everything from gifts to groceries, companies/busineses with physical storefronts are now also creating online stores to extend their visibility and reach target markets beyond their local communities. Through internet-assisted marketing, small businesses can access available funds, communicate with their clients via email, blogs, social networking, and forums. He said there were many instances where trucks that conveyed cattle to that part of the country were burnt with animals inside them. Using the instant connection, micro-business owners can immediately apply customer feedback to their businesses, as soon as possible. For instance, the food cart/mobile food business, rental services, liquid soap production, mobile phone repairs, blogging to even the making and sales of plantain chips have, in a way, built online stores with the ability to instantly connect, share information and receive feedback. He also said many Igbo merchants used to come to purchase cattle in Tella market and places in the state and nobody would attack them. Creative sector enterprises such as crafters, clothing and accessories designers, and painters have found it a lot easier to set up online stores rather than invest in expensive storefronts.

However, when small businesses adopt new technologies in their processes, they are required to train their employees to take advantage of business opportunities. He said many people from the North were discouraged from going for business in the eastern part of the country and both the federal government and northern states governments were not doing anything about the situation. Apart from MSMEs, startups such as Wardchat and Myclinic.ng have digitalised the Nigerian electoral process and medical/clinical consultation, even as more industries are leveraging digital technology to reach out to a larger audience and activate change. He said he and other young northerners started the business in a small way, but today, they are leading merchants. economy. NITDA, SMEDAN and other stakeholders within the tech innovation industry team must raise awareness on digital tools, training, and capacity-building programmes to motivate MSMEs to embrace innovative but cost-effective digital technologies. He said prices of cattle had gone up in recent times, which made those in the business to have good money.

Digital connectivity should be strengthened to help MSMEs to acquire technical and networking skills virtually/online without having to travel out of their immediate locations. To that effect, the untiring efforts of Federal Government agencies like the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), alongside those of its subsidiaries, have over the years promoted technology for MSMEs and startups by establishing over 1500 IT Centres across the country, where thousands of people can gain basic computer skills to set up their businesses. And the cost of transporting the animals to any part of the country has also increased,” he said. As part of the commitment to ensure the successful implementation of its mandate, NITDA unveiled the Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021 – 2024) to prioritise digital innovation and entrepreneurship support for MSMEs, in order for them to evolve into Innovation-Driven Enterprises (IDEs). Recently, NITDA scored another landmark achievement with the establishment of a state-of-the-art fabrication laboratory (FabLab) through one of its subsidiaries, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR). Quality journalism costs money. High-tech equipment available in the facility includes CNC routers, laser cutters, milling machines, 3D printers, embroidery machines, and a lab oven.

The FabLab offers the opportunity for young Nigerian innovators to create solutions and help MSMEs and other sectors to thrive in the digital economy. Your support means that Daily Trust can keep offering journalism to everyone in the world. Meanwhile, international tech giants like Google, through partnerships with public and private sector organisations created programmes to provide MSMEs access to support in the areas of funding, training, and networking, to expose them to the necessary knowledge and expertise to actively participate in the global market place. NITDA, SMEDAN and other stakeholders within the tech innovation industry team must raise awareness on digital tools, training, and capacity-building programmes to motivate MSMEs to embrace innovative but cost-effective digital technologies. Digital connectivity should be strengthened to help MSMEs to acquire technical and networking skills virtually/online without having to travel out of their immediate locations. Undoubtedly, when adequate resources are channeled into our small businesses, more entrepreneurs and innovators will grow in communities and contribute their quotas to boosting development and fostering wealth creation for the wellbeing of our community dwellers.

Zeenat O. Sambo writes from Abuja. .