Being the nation’s commercial and industrial hub, the Lagos State Government rightly recognizes the Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as sure catalysts for socio-economic growth. This is because they are responsible for employment generation, wealth creation, empowerment, innovation, income generation and prosperity.
Consequently, the development of MSMEs is being consciously driven in the State through initiation and implementation of policies that create and foster a positive business environment. This is aimed at enhancing technical and non-technical entrepreneurial skills and improves access to networks and financial services in the State.
Till date, the Administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has made vital interventions in advancing the course of MSMEs in the State with a view to achieving its vision of transforming Lagos into a 21st century economy.
The government has established and commissioned the first of its kind Eko Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Fashion HUB 1 in Alade Market, Allen Avenue, Ikeja. The facilityis an end-to-end fashion production center equipped with modern industrial textile and fashion machines.
The Fashion HUB is designed for the public to use for a stipend especially for those who cannot afford to own their own machines and let shops from landlords. It is being managed by an expert in the fashion industry.
In order to strategically harness the potential of local entrepreneurs toward developing the State economy, the government conceived the idea of the Lagos Corporate Assembly. It is a forum where the governor and other top government functionaries meet with the business community to receive feedbacks from the Organized Private Sector (OPS) on policy implementation, regulations and projects as they impact on business prosperity of the State. The aim is to further use such feedback for planning, regulations and policy formulation.
Also, in a bid to promote locally made products, the Lagos State Export Promotion Committee was set up at the State level. It comprises members from both public and the private sectors.
A major mandate of the Committee is the promotion of non-oil export in Lagos State. This is in line with the policy to diversify the economy away from oil and build a formidable economy. The Committee is to assist in development and promotion of export product-oriented industries.
In order to assist the industries in the State to pursue and obtain necessary export incentives; collection and dissemination of information on products that are available for export.
As part of efforts to further encourage the MSMEs through the provision of industrial workstations, the Imota Light Industrial Park has also been conceived to provide built up factory units for small scale industrialists, particularly those in the food value chain.
The facility has provision for 44 factory units of various sizes, including ancillary facilities such as the administrative building, fire service state, gate house, clinic, water booster station and canteen.
The Sanwo-Olu administration has equally continued to sustain and maintain the existing State’s small scale industrial estates situated in Matori I & Matori II and Isolo as well as the industrial shed at Sabo in Ikorodu.
In furtherance of the need to provide additional work space for MSMEs, the government is at the verge of establishing another small scale industrial estate in Gberibge in Ikorodu Local Government.
Regular sponsorship of MSMEs Exclusive Fair is one veritable vehicle being used to support MSMEs in the State. The Institution of MSME Exclusive Fair was conceptualized to build a strong public-private support system that would enhance the capacity of MSMEs for economic diversification.
At the Fairs, top government officials usually intermingle with diverse MSME operators in order to get necessary information on their prospects and challenges.
The Fairs regularly focus largely on quality improvements in the MSMEs’ production processes and outputs so as to encourage the development of globally competitive products and services.
The main goals include offering indigenous producers increased leverage for market access and global visibility, encouraging quality comparison and innovative improvements for local and international competitiveness, promoting MSMEs linkages with trade support and market facilitation channels, especially e-commerce and facilitating linkages for investment opportunities and export development.
Till date, the Fairs have been able to achieve increased patronage and global visibility of locally made products in Lagos State, healthier and more supportive business environment, stronger and more sustainable enterprises as well as increased business networks, sales opportunities and market access for small indigenous brands.
Over 3000 local MSMEs entrepreneurs have so far taken part in the Fairs with over 20 regulatory agencies providing institutional support, while over 10,000 daily visitors (buyers, investors and prospective entrepreneurs) are being targeted.
Speaking at the 2021 Lagos International Trade Fair, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the annual Trade Fair has impacted greatly on the economy of Nigeria and Lagos State in particular, through the unique opportunities provided for individuals and Corporate Organisations to showcase their products and services to a larger number of people.
The Governor, speaking through the State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Mrs. Lola Akande, added that the International Trade Fair has also provided entrepreneurs all over the world opportunities to interact and build strong networks, while expanding their businesses locally and across the borders.
Sanwo-Olu assured entrepreneurs and investors that his government will continue to create a business friendly environment in order to facilitate profitable returns on investments in the State.
On efforts to increase economic activities in the State, the governor
assured entrepreneurs of the government’s commitment towards improving the business environment to make it more attractive as investors’ destination of the nation.
He said: “It is in furtherance of this objective that we ceaselessly pursued the implementation of reforms in the critical sectors, including public service institutions and the judiciary, as well as the massive infrastructural upgrade and development of road network across the State to ensure significant reduction in travel time”.
Supporting the growth and development of MSMEs is, no doubt, the best way to go in the drive to diversify our economy and create employment for the people. The benefits and multiplier effects of investing in the sector will result in positive socio-economic impacts at all levels, especially in terms of job and wealth creation, progressive redistribution of wealth and innovation.
Therefore, there must be concerted efforts on the part of governments at all levels to focus on strengthening MSMEs operators towards increasing their capacity to diversify the nation’s economy.
These and other factors duly informed the various investments of the Lagos State government in the subsector. When critically viewed, the renewed resolve of the Sanwo-Olu administration to promote MSMEs, thereby stimulating the growth of the national economy, is a logical one.
For one, the State alone accounts for about 3, 224, 324 micro enterprises and 11, 663 small and medium enterprises, the largest concentration of MSMEs in Nigeria. This implies that the State has a role to play in changing the course of the economy for the better. The inherent pressure on Lagos in terms of economic migration makes it imperative for the government to be actively involved in the promotion of MSMEs.
Nigerians must, however, support indigenous entrepreneurs by patronizing locally produced goods and services. It is only in doing this that we could develop and transform local industries. There is no country that has managed to transform itself without adequate industrial growth or wholesome dependence on imported goods.
Ogunbiyi is Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.