Citing the need to reduce dependence on importation of goods that can be substituted locally, the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) has called for increased government support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in expanding the nation’s export capacity.
The body made the call at the weekend, preparatory to the second edition of its trade fair, themed, “MSMEs as catalyst to Nigeria’s export promotion agenda”, scheduled to commence tomorrow Thursday, May 17-20 at Adeyemi Dero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to the Chairman, Local Organising Committee and Chief Executive Officer, Getinuel Investment Limited, Getrude Akhimien, the fair is designed to assist in the creation of market for MSME products both locally and internationally.
She explained that the fair seeks to seize the opportunity of current realities of the need to diversify the nation’s economy by promoting made-in-Lagos products in particular and those manufactured in the country in general.
“Many of the entrepreneurs we are showcasing are women. Women are natural entrepreneurs; they need to be encouraged so that they can improve their production capacity for commercial enterprise. This year, we have at least 100 members who have indicated interest in participating at the fair”.
“Through the awareness that the fair will create, there shall be increased patronage of locally-made goods and services. This will result in business expansion; boost the local economy; save foreign exchange through less dependence on foreign products as well as earn more income; and generate employment for the teeming youth population”, she added.
On his part, NASSI’s Lagos Chairman, Segun Kuti-George, noted that there are several substitutes for many products being imported, adding that businesses only need to look inwards and take advantage of available local resources.
“This fair will improve exposure of products to both local and foreign consumers. We need to realise that the potential income from oil economy will nose-dive and prepare by looking at the non-oil sector. MSMEs are good drivers of non-oil export agenda. We only need to develop their capacity for growth.