The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, has declared that small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs, currently contribute 75 per cent of the national employment.
NEPC executive director, Olusegun Awolowo, made the declaration at the weekend while speaking at a capacity-building programme the organization organised for micro, small and medium scale enterprises, MSMEs, in Port Harcourt.
Awolowo said, “SMEs represent one of the most important sectors of our economy. It currently represents 96 per cent of the businesses in Nigeria and contributes 75 per cent of the national employment.
“The country has abundant opportunities in the non-oil export which include agricultural commodities, semi processed products, and handicrafts, solid minerals et al, most of which are yet to be fully harnessed.
“Increases in higher level education and the existence of accessible online training initiatives are bringing digital skills to those able to access them.
“However, low enrolment in basic education and the poor quality of that education coupled with a lack of digital skills in curricula is segmenting digital skills into a slim share of the population, excluding most of the MSMEs from the benefits of the digital world.
“As the biggest economy in Africa with growing population of young people, Nigeria is well-positioned to develop a strong digital economy, which would have a transformational impact on the country, therefore, there is need to connect tremendous economic potentials MSMEs digital platform has to offer.”
Also speaking at the event, NEPC South-South zonal coordinator, Joe Itah, said there has to be increased application of information and communication technology, ICT, to revamp export supply chains in order to meet customers’ demand.
Itah said, “Then new E-Commerce channels that would lead to doing business in smarter and more sustainable ways must be established among MSMEs.
“Thus, there is need for underlined reason for NEPC to teach MSMEs ways of adapting to cloud-based communications, creation and use of online collaborations, and productivity tools that induced more frequent communication, and enhanced business results.