The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says over 2 million Small and Medium Enterprises collapsed between 2019 and 2021 across 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
Specifically, the agency explained that during its 2017 SMEs’ census in collaboration with National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), it recorded 41 million small businesses, noting that the number reduced drastically to 39 million when another census was carried out in 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic.
SMEDAN FCT Manager, Mrs Mary Kolawole, disclosed this in an interview with Daily Trust on the side-line of a sensitisation programme organised for the FCT indigenes by the Socio-Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC) at Kuje Town Hall in Abuja yesterday.
Mrs Kolawole said SMEDAN and some non-governmental organisations are working to create awareness among FCT original inhabitants on why they should prioritise businesses by seizing the opportunities being created by the agency.
She said, “We have been working in partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and we have been taking the statistics of MSMEs all over the federation. When the result came out, we discovered that FCT indigenes have the lowest number of MSMEs (people that are into small businesses).
“We then told them that there is a need for them to come out to be part of many programmes being carried out. In actual fact, when the census was being carried out, most of them did not come out. We know we have farmers in FCT, we have SMEs.
“That is why we are doing all these sensitisations, we are going to town halls, and we’re going to all the area councils, to see how we can talk to FCT indigenes so that they can be part of a series of programmes we are running in the agency. We want them to be practical about it, come out en masse and participate.
“In 2017 census, we were able to count 41 million SMEs all over the federation. We have a good sizable number in the FCT that I may not be able to confirm now. But in the last census that took place in 2021, it was about 39 million because of the COVID-19. So, the number of FCT was drastically low.”
Earlier, the Executive Director of the Centre, Tijani AbdulKareem, said many Nigerians are unaware of current plights and struggles of original indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory since when their ancestral lands have been used as Nigerian Capital.