Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has advocated that development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises be made top priority to jumpstart the economy of the country.
Governor Dickson stated this when a representative of the Director-General of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr. Olawale Fasanya visited him at Government House, Yenagoa.
The Governor pointed out that the promotion of small businesses should not only be encouraged in Bayelsa but the country as whole to serve as a catalyst to stimulate the country’s economy, which is currently a consumer one.
In his words: “I want to enjoin all of us to address the issue of promoting SMEs because that is the fastest way to fast track the growth of the economy. Here in this state, I want to assure you that the development of SMEs is a critical cornerstone of our restoration government because that is why we say we are broadening the base of our economy. We want people to come and do business here and we also have a duty to stimulate enterprise, bridge their finance needs and skill deficiencies.
Hon. Dickson noted that the major thrust of his administration’s policies and programmes was geared towards improving small and medium scale enterprises to create wealth, employment and enhance skills as well as reduce the dependence on foreign products.
“Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are the way to go particularly in an economy such as ours that is overdependence on products that come from outside our shores. So we are very passionate about this sector and I want to this sector blossom in Bayelsa so that we can create wealth, employment and generate skills. Going forward, this is one area that is going to form a major plank of our social investment policy.
He however attributed the delay in the disbursement of funds already made available for the sector to some logistic problems which are being streamlined to enable Bayelsans participate actively and become stakeholders in the local economy.
Governor Dickson who expressed government’s willingness to explore the full range of the opportunities that SMEDAN has to offer, thanked the agency for taking special interest in the state to expand its economic base.
Earlier in his remarks, representative of the Director General of SMEDAN, Mr. Olawale Fasanya said a recent survey conducted indicated that over 400 people are involved in SMEs in Bayelsa State.
To this end, he said the agency has been mandated to collaborate with the state on ways SMEDAN could promote small businesses.
Mr. Fasanya also explained that the National Enterprise Development Programme under SMEDAN is expected to be launched soon by the President and Bayelsa has been penciled down as one of the states where the programme would start.
According to him, the programme involves getting the state to nominate what he called, Business Development Service Volunteers who will be trained to mentor the SMEs that have been identified in the state.
Mr. Fasanya said SMEDAN has been involved in training about 200 women in the state in the past, under the Rural Women Development Programme.