Virtual “Open Day With MSMEs” Organised By Standards Organisation of Nigeria

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, deserve our commendations for providing this platform, “Virtual Open-Day with MSMEs.” It is another excellent opportunity to demonstrate the Federal Government’s unwavering commitment to supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).


As we are all aware, MSMEs account for approximately 48% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and continue to play a vital role in providing jobs and keeping the economy running despite the many economic challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic across the world.


We are fully aware that Nigeria’s aspirations for a highly competitive economy will remain unfulfilled if we do not create a business environment that is conducive for your businesses to thrive. Among other factors, a friendly business environment engenders productivity while ensuring that products and services meet the highest standards.


It is, therefore, to the purpose, that the theme of this virtual event is – Improving Product Quality through Standards. At home and abroad, quality, in addition to safety, is integral to market entry and market share. Our failure to adhere to international standards for product quality will continue to limit the market acceptability of our products and pose the risk of rejection and non-acceptance of ‘Made-In-Nigeria’ products at home and abroad.


In an increasingly integrated market all around the world, all hands must be on deck to ensure product quality limitations and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) are removed while improving the market acceptability of products of Nigerian origin. This is particularly important as we seek to expand our exports to the rest of Africa in the African Continental Free Trade Area and indeed to the rest of the world.


It is our expectation that this event will further educate MSMEs on recent efforts to improve product standardization, including the Nigeria National Standardisation Strategy (NNSS) document, and the National Quality Policy document. The National Standardisation Strategy released by SON in 2020 takes cognizance of Nigeria’s priorities and serves as a reference document in integrating our standardization needs. Furthermore, the National Quality Policy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) early this year, will help reduce the infrastructural burden of meeting local and global quality requirements.


Today, there are a plethora of programmes which this Administration has especially curated to support MSMEs, such as the cross-cutting, systemic business climate reforms of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the National MSME Clinics, with the provision of Shared Facilities Centres, some of which have been established in Benue, Lagos, and Anambra States, and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) to mention a few.


Furthermore, the Federal Government’s specific Covid response measures rolled out in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) helped the economy to exit recession speedily by increasing the chances of survival of our MSMEs in the thick of the pandemic.


Some of those ESP interventions included the MSME Survival Fund, under the Payroll Support Scheme, which supported over 450,000 employees, while the Artisan and Transport Workers Scheme was extended to over 300,000 beneficiaries.


80,000 plus MSMEs received grants under the MSME Grant Scheme while nearly 250,000 new businesses were registered under the CAC Formalization Support Scheme. Another 36,000 beneficiaries of the Guaranteed Offtake Scheme have received the first tranche bringing the total number of beneficiaries to over 1.2million.


We are now extending support to MSMEs in the digital and creative sectors through a collaboration with the African Development Bank on a $600million programme titled Investing in Digital and Creative Enterprises. However, these interventions will not be sustainable if a deliberate culture of ensuring compliance with global standards and regulations to attain quality benchmarks is not inculcated.


The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) through its mandate as the National Standards Body has the capacity to provide Nigerian MSMEs with the required support for the production of quality goods to make you competitive across Africa and globally. While there is still a significant amount of improvement required to facilitate an enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive, I am personally impressed with the efforts of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, especially the Hon. Minister of Investment Trade and Industry, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, and his colleague, the Hon. Minister of State, Ambassador Maryam Katagum, and especially their commendable capacity for project execution. We must also commend the Standards Organisation of Nigeria for the great progress made within the short period since the Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim came into office.  We look forward to the coming to fruition of many of their plans.


I urge all participants to take full advantage of this programme, to learn as much as they can about technical standards as it relates to your products and industry, and how to obtain the relevant product certifications and licencing to forge ahead in your enterprise.


It is therefore now, my privilege and pleasure to declare open, this virtual interaction with MSMEs.


Thank you for your kind attention and have a very good session.


God bless you.