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Stakeholders urged to strengthen relationships in MSMEs space to boost performance

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By Victoria Onehi

Stakeholders have been urged to strengthen relationships in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) space to bring about optimal performance in the sector.

This charge was given by the Chairman Governing Council of MSME/BMOs of Nigeria Mrs Rose D.S Gyar, at the first Quarter 2024 Stakeholders Engagement by the Forum of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises/Business Management Organisations (MSME-BMOs) of Nigeria, held in Abuja on Thursday.

In a paper titled ‘the Journey so far: An Account of the achievements of the MSME/BMOs Forum’,  the presenter and the Secretary of the MSME  Forum Consultancy Services Barr. Ibrahim Atukpa, said the Forum was conceived mainly to ameliorate the difficulties faced by micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria by providing a united voice to speak on cross cutting issues impeding the growth, development and competitiveness within the MSME Space.

He added that  “the journey has not been easy but steady progress has been made; some of which are enumerated thus. The Forum has been able to engage and collaborate with some critical stakeholders such as:

Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments, Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Ministry of Economic Planning,

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), as well as  National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) amongst others.”

The purpose of the collaboration with the NARSDA is to provide a credible data base of MSME operators in the 774 LGAs and across economic sectors,  gender and social status to support appropriate socio-economic and national planning and development. It will also aid the formulation of interventions targeting the sector.

” As a sign of the Forum’s commitment to demonstrate its seriousness in achieving the objectives of the Forum, Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) have been entered into with the following Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government:

“Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment – Already working on our letter for concessionary rates to register our members’ businesses with CAC. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security – A joint Committee (Ministry and the Forum) to implement the MoU has been constituted and are working with the Ministry.” He also stated that the Council Chairman of the Forum Mrs. Rose D. S. Gyar represents the private sector in the recently inaugurated National committee on  Food Security through Mechanisation. 

Barr. Atukpa said the Forum has also initiated relationships with some states which is already yielding results.

He said: ” the Forum has cordial relationship with some State Governments, particularly the following States: Kaduna State government – Economy of Production (EOP) of six produce (Ginger, Sorghum, Mushroom and others were conducted awaiting formalization of memorandum of understanding (MOU).

“Cross Rivers State Government – The government has approved that the Forum consults for her micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) services in the State for a period of four (4) years. The Consultancy Management Services of the Forum is handling the project.

He added that  other states such as Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Kebbi and Borno States have requested do as Cross Rivers State government has done and have received the Forums letters to that effect.

In his welcome address the Director General of the Forum  Dr. Francis Alaneme, urged stakeholders to collaborate with the forum to push for the progress of MSMEs in the country.

The remarks of the Chairman Board of Trustees Dr. Albert Akinyemi was delivered by Alhaji Garba Ibrahim, who affirmed the New Governing Council.

The Forum has a new governing structure which is Board of Trustees  with  Chief (Dr) Albert Akinyemi as (Chairman) with others inclusive of Alhaji Garba Ibrahim Gusau, mfr, mni.Other members are as registered with the CAC in September, 2018.

The Governing Council has Mrs. Rose D Gyar (Chairman) with both institutional and individual membership, which comprises representatives of Civil Society Organisations, Citizens groups, MDAs and notable personalities interested and passionate about MSME development. The council served as a Resource Reservoir of the Forum to add value to decision making.

The General Management unit is led by  Dr. Francis Alaneme as the Director-General, leading Directorates of the Forum, performing day-to-day operations of the Forum. 

For the purpose of inclusion, the Business Membership Organizations  Presidents and Secretaries platform is also established to meet bi-monthly to discuss cross cutting issues and.challenges for the purpose of advocacy with a view to surmounting them as a team.

Similarly also, the Forum established revenue generating units like the Consultancy services to source funding for the Forum for the purpose of sustainability as the Forum is a not for profit and has only membership dues and registration fees as its source of income. With the onerous task it would perform for the benefit of members and the country at large therefore, there is no gain saying that there is need for  other sources of income.

In presenting the new governance structure for the Forum, the Chairman of the Council emphasised the need for the BMOs to identify with the Forum in order to together identify cross cutting challenges and work together to surmount them e.g poor access to long term affordable business finance and financial services, inadequate entreprenuerial capacities to sustain business profitability,  inappropriate workspace for competitive products, etc.  

She informed the gathering that all those introduced working in the secretariat were doing that on voluntary basis to ensure the Forum finds its feet. She called on the BMOs to come forth and register to provide opportunity for there members to benefit from the various MOUs the Forum has signed with partners and to also provide logistics for the secretariat to do more.

In affirmation of the new Governance  Structure, a member of the BOT and representative of the Chairman of The Board of Trustees Alhaji Ibrahim Garba Gusau, Mni, Mfr reiterated the commitment and support of the Trustees towards ensuring that the units of the Forum work in synergy and therefore urged the BMOs to also be responsive in their obligations as members of the forum.

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