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Over 37 million Small and Medium Enterprises in the country are on target for business support services as the federal government on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, (MoU) with Procter and Gamble to build a Small and Medium Enterprise Academy.
The MoU was signed on Friday in Abuja between the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, representing the federal government, and Procter and Gamble.
Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State for Industry. Trade and Investment and the supervising Minister of Women Affairs, signed on behalf of the federal government, while Temitope Iluyemi, the director Government Relations, Africa, signed on behalf of Procter and Gamble.
Speaking at the ceremony, Aisha Abubakar said the Federal Government was committed to ensuring consistent business support services for SMES in the country.
Giving further insight into the role of the government in the MoU, she noted that the federal government as part of its commitments is expected to make available relevant groups, partners to scale up programme support, sensitise as well as provide venue for other logistics for the training.
She clarified further that the federal government bears no cost in the setting up of the academy. The duration for the project is for five years, she further added.
Procter and Gamble, according to the MoU, is expected to facilitate human resource, alongside access to finance, in addition to mentorship in the small and medium enterprise academy.
“Today is important for SMES in the country. Procter and Gamble has been in Nigeria for about 20 years now and are giving back to the society where necessary in lending support to micro, small and medium enterprises in the country,” Abubakar said.
Iluyemi on her part, said the need to equip the SMES with the right skills and capacity to enable them standardise their operations and raise their competitiveness globally, informed their decision to go into this partnership with the government.
“Procter and Gamble has created in this process of support to SMES about 300 SMEs .And as an academy, we have to provide soft business skills, excellent book-keeping skills, and providing them with market access as well as possible areas to divest,” she explained.
HARRISON EDEH, ABUJA