Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has charged private sector to continue to collaborate with the state government in its bit to enhance the quality and overall performance of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for business prosperity and economic development of the state.
The governor spoke on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the 7th edition of MSMEs Exclusive Fair in Ikeja, Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, said the theme of the fair, “Sustainability of MSMEs on AfCFTA Opportunities for Global and Digitalised Economy,” was apt and timely because the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is expected to bring huge gains to SMEs in Nigeria.
“It can play the role of unlocking innovation, growth and productivity across the continent, but significantly, for its MSMEs segment, by translating spending power into economic development.
“The advantages of this agreement are quite enormous with a prospect of growing Africa’s GDP by an additional one trillion dollars. This, no doubt presents a huge opportunity for our MSMEs to explore and take due advantage to promote growth, greater prosperity and development,” he said.
According to Sanwo-Olu, as a people-oriented government, his administration would take advantage of these emerging opportunities by designing and implementing policies and programmes that would accelerate the actualisation of its goals of sustainable trade, industrial, and economic development.
“I wish therefore to call on the private sector to continue to collaborate with our government in our bid to enhance the quality and overall performance of our MSMEs for business prosperity and economic development of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.
“My administration is focused on the full and beneficial implementation of our THEMES Agenda with special emphasis on infrastructural development, power, mass transportation, waste management, good roads, youth empowerment and conducive business environment which will improve and enhance competitive advantage of our MSMEs at both local and international levels,” he added.
The governor charged stakeholders at all levels to digitalise their operations to be able to lead economic reforms and take advantage of the benefits of AfCFTA and to contribute in the next six days during the business clinic towards enhancing the global competitiveness and economic value of the teeming MSMEs in the 21st century economy.
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Lola Akande said the six days Exclusive Fair, among other laudable economic initiatives of the Sanwo-Olu administration promised to deliver great economic benefits for the teeming MSME operators, while strengthening the position of Lagos as an emerging model 21st century economy.
“Among activities planned for this week-long exhibition of the best made – in- Lagos innovative products, we have ear marked sessions to deliberate extensively on the very important theme for this year’s Fair, which is: “Sustainability of MSMEs on Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA), Opportunities for Global and Digitalized Economy”, a topic, which I believe is most timely, especially as we consolidate on the gains already achieved in the MSME sector under this administration, that would further position this critical sector of economy to be prepared and ready to take full advantage of the benefits of AfCFTA,” she said.
She stated that the state government had invested heavily in the MSME sector of the economy, with a view to harnessing the full benefits of growth in the sector.
“As you may be aware, 50% of the Non –Oil Gross Domestic Product of the Country is generated in Lagos State, while 70% of the MSMEs in Nigeria, are domiciled and operate in the State. This data, no doubt speaks to the positive contributions of the sector to the overall growth of the State’s economy.
“As part of the effort of the State Government at promoting access to market for the sector, last year, over 280 MSME operators were sponsored to the 6th Edition of the Exclusive Fair, at no charge. In addition, 130 MSME operators also got free sponsorship to showcase their products at the State Pavilion during the Year 2021 Lagos International Trade Fair.
“Also, winners of the lottery at the 6th edition of the Exclusive Fair were awarded One Million Naira for the first position, Seven and Fifty Thousand Naira for the second position while Five Hundred Thousand Naira was awarded for the third position and there were other consolation prices given to participants,” Akande stated.
She implored all MSME operators to take full advantage of the 7th Edition of the Exclusive Fair to expand their market network.
Akande commended the leadership of Governor Sanwo-Olu for his unflinching support for the growth of MSMEs in the State in the last three years through the marketing mileage and intervention support by creating market access to showcase products and services of the MSMEs for better patronage.
She added that the administration, through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, had made available a pool of funding loans at 9% annual interest rate for MSMEs which are domiciled in Lagos State.
“I want to assure you that the State Government will continue to give necessary support for the advancement of this sector. The future of our nation and state is bright and it will continue to improve as I encourage the MSMEs to imbibe the principle of synergy in order to take full advantage of the benefits of AFCFTA,” she said.
Permanent Secretary, Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs Adetutu Oluremi Ososanya, said the annual staging of this Exclusive Trade Fair was an eloquent testimony of Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to the growth of the Sector.