Story from Abah ADAH, Abuja
The federal government of Nigeria has expressed concern over the low industrial standard of local metal products, urging Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to pick the challenge of improving the quality of local products for economic growth and development.
The Permanent Secretary (PS), Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Dr (Mrs) Oluwatoyin Akinlade, expressed the concern while declaring open the ministry’s annual Stimulation and Promotion Workshop for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), being the 7th in the series, slated for Thursday in Kano, for the North-West geopolitical zone.
In a statement from the Press and Public Relations Unit of the ministry, Dr Akinlade said the situation had adversely affected the nation’s economy as it encourages the importation of the products.
Small and Medium metal-based entrepreneurs from across northwestern Nigeria comprising foundries, fabricators, welders, manufacturers of spare parts, aluminium extrusion, allied products, etc. were all part of the workshop.
Declaring the one-day programme open, the PS, who was represented by Director (Special Duties), Yisau Adepoju, noted that the workshop was aimed at strengthening the strategies designed for the growth of the SMEs in the Sector, by sensitising the entrepreneurs to stimulate and drive significant improvement in the Sector’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and, by implication, the economy in general.
Lamenting the importation of all kinds of metal products due to low industrial standard of the local Metal products, which she noted had adversely affected the SMEs, Dr Akinlade however expressed optimism that the workshop would bridge participants’ gaps in the production of quality products that would compete favourably in the global market.
In his welcome address at the event, the Acting Director (Steel), Engineer Olasupo, said it was the vision of the Ministry to see that SME operators in the Metals Sector were fully integrated with other stakeholders in the industry.
He urged the participants who were drawn from Kaduna, Kano, Katsina and Jigawa to ensure that the knowledge gained from the seminar assist them in repositioning their businesses for higher productivity that would culminate in wealth creation, poverty reduction, and increase in the GDP of the country.
Highlights of the event include presentations of SMEDAN Representative, Aliyu Aminu; Bank of the North official, Alhaji Aminu Yusuf; and the G.M. (General Services), Ajaokuta Complex, Engr Suleiman Muhammad on critical subject areas to improve the performances of the SMEs in the metals sector.
The resource persons, respectively, addressed the operators on Operating a Small and Medium Enterprise in the Metals Sector in Nigeria; Funding Options for SMEs in the Metals Sector in Nigeria; Safety and shop floor practice for improving efficiency and productivity in the metals enterprises.