Edo assures more support for SMEs

Edo State Government has affirmed its commitment to providing more support to Small and Medium Enterprise as well as local manufacturers to enable them play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the state.

Head of Edo State Investment Promotion Office, Mr Kelvin Uwaibi, gave the assurance during a webinar titled, ‘African Continental Free Trade Area: Economic impact and challenges for Nigeria’.

Uwaibi noted that to achieve success in the implementation of the AfCFTA, boosting the capacity of SMEs was key, adding that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement should ensure that SMEs and manufacturers benefited from the pact.

He added that boosting investments in the non-oil sector was the sure way of mitigating the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The sub-nationals have competitive advantages which can be strengthened. We should remember that in the 1970s, we had the groundnut pyramid in Northern Nigeria; we had cocoa and oil palm in other parts of Nigeria. In Edo, for example, the Palm House was actually built with revenue from oil palm. Then we need to ask ourselves, how do we graduate from theory to execution to actually making sure that SMEs and other businesses can benefit?”

“In Edo State, we are also working with the SMEs. To ensure the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area, we have to boost the capacity of the SMEs; they should lead the process.”

While x-raying the efforts of the Edo State in making investments worthwhile, Uwaibi noted, “In Edo State, we are doing things quite differently.

“If you are talking about getting products and services to other African countries, it means we have to manufacture the products. In trying to manufacture, you need electricity.”

The Executive Secretary/ CEO Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Ms Yewande Sadiku, said the African Continental Free Trade Agreement encouraged African countries to do businesses with each other.