The Federal Government has initiated moves to secure a $500 million African Development Bank (AfDB) fund for technology innovation, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has said.
Adebayo said this in an opening address at the 11th meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital.
He said the government would also work towards the realisation of one agro processing zone in each senatorial district to encourage farmers in the country.
The minister also expressed commitment to ensure credit access to 10 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at single digit rate and fully activate the private sector six special zones in Lekki, Enyimba, Funtua, Ibom, Kano and Benue.
Adebayo explained that the policies were meant to boost government strategy towards the realisation of taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
He said that the ministry had already initiated and implemented the One Local Government One product Programme expected to generate over 4,900 new jobs and had established three facilities to help revamp MSMEs in Sokoto, Aba and Minna.
“The National Enterprises Development Programme being implemented is generating one million jobs annually.
“The programme is a strategic way of delivering enterprise development in the country directly addressing the critical factors that have inhibited the growth of the MSME sector.
“It is of interest to intimate the council that tremendous progress has been recorded in the areas of improved registration of enterprises, increased access of MSMEs to grants, improved capacity of MSMEs and job creation opportunities, amongst others.
“There are over 100,000 MSMEs registered under the Business Innovative and Growth (BIG) platform, which is the only channel through which MSMEs can access the project intervention programme,” he said.
The minister expressed the hope that the Council meeting would help in articulating pragmatic means of repositioning the Small and Medium Scale businesses for alleviating poverty and uplifting of Nigeria to the next level of economic development.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom state stated that ongoing construction of a coconut plantation and refinery and the Ibom Deep Sea Port projects were programmes aimed at providing massive direct and indirect employment opportunities for skilled manpower.