NITDA, SMEDAN Sign MoU For Economic Diversification

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding emphasising the critical role of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in accelerating the nation’s economic diversification, to carry out the agenda of the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR of Reforming the Economy for Sustained Inclusive Growth.

The MOU was formed with a primary focus on the expansion of SMEs and addressing startup difficulties while implementing the Nigeria Startup Act, acknowledging SMEs as the backbone of the country’s economic landscape.

The two groups signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Friday at the SMEDAN agency’s corporate offices in Idu, Abuja.

The MOU’s goals are to forge a strategic alliance between NITDA and SMEDAN and guarantee that concerns about MSMEs are taken into consideration while the Startup Act is being implemented.

Speaking at the ceremony, the NITDA Director General, Kashifu Inuwa emphasised the critical importance of SMEs and cited their contribution to Nigeria’s economy, where they represent over 90% of businesses.

Underscoring the need for technological innovation to enhance productivity in the sector, Inuwa stated that “when you talk about critical sectors, SMEs are the first and if we want to create prosperity for our country, we should start by digitising SMEs”.

DG NITDA, Kashfu Inuwa CCIE (left), and the DG SMEDAN, Charles Odii (right), signing the MOU at the SMEDAN’s corporate headquarters in Idu, Abuja

He further emphasised the necessity of creating a comprehensive database of SMEs to facilitate targeted incentives and foster digital literacy among entrepreneurs.
Inuwa highlighted the transformative potential of technology in expanding market reach and enhancing the productivity of entrepreneurs’ businesses while pointing to successful cases where ICT training programmes organised by NITDA for women have helped them leverage social media platforms, thereby significantly boosting their market presence and efficiency.

“As SMEs, you can use technology to expand your market reach and at NITDA, we have trained women on ICT and they have been able to expand their market reach and productivity using social media platforms. If we can do this, it will change the SME landscape in Nigeria”, he added.

The transformative power of technology within Nigeria was proudly exemplified by Inuwa, where he narrated how several SMEs have blossomed from nothing to become billion-dollar organisations.

“In Africa, we have 7 Unicorns and out of them, 5 originated from Nigeria. So, we believe that with technology, we can help all the SMEs to scale up, increase their productivity and create sustainable prosperity for our country”, he asserted.

In his remark, the SMEDAN Director General, Charles Odii stated that the essence of the MOU agreement is to collaborate with NITDA in fulfilling the mandate of the President’s agenda in creating jobs and digitising Nigeria’s economy.

While stating that any business that does not take advantage of digital innovation and services is short-changing itself, Odii noted that if the 40 million small businesses in the country equip themselves with digital processes whereby each small business employs at least 5 people, it will have a significant impact on Nigeria’s economy.

“What we are doing here in addition to sensitising the public on the implementation of the Startup Act is to organise our small businesses where they can use innovative solutions to solve their problems”, he averred.
The signing of the MOU signified a crucial step towards harnessing the power of technology to revolutionise Nigeria’s SME landscape, thereby paving the way for sustainable growth and prosperity.