NITDA, SMEDAN Join Forces For SME Advancement, Creating Database For Strategic Interventions

L-R: The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi presenting NITDA-branded souvenir to the director-general, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, Charles Odii when the latter paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.

The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has announced a collaborative effort with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to implement joint programmes focusing on infrastructure, digital literacy, and more.

The aim is to establish a comprehensive database, providing insights into SME activities and guiding targeted interventions.

In a meeting at NITDA’s corporate headquarters in Abuja, Abdullahi welcomed the director-general of SMEDAN, Charles Odii who sought to forge a partnership for infrastructural and human capital development for SMEs in Nigeria. The visit also included the submission of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to align both agencies’ objectives and potentially lead to further discussions at SMEDAN’s premises.

Charles Odii highlighted the existing opportunities for collaboration outlined in the NITDA Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2.0), specifically within the pillar of fostering digital literacy and cultivating talents. He stressed that the partnership would facilitate the penetration of digital literacy among small and medium enterprises (SMEs), ultimately enhancing productivity and aligning with the objectives of the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF).

The collaboration aims to empower SMEs, which constitute around 90 per cent of the country’s workforce and over 90 per cent of businesses. Abdullahi expressed a strong desire to leverage the Startup Act incentives to benefit SMEs, particularly those utilising innovation to drive productivity.

In addressing underutilized IT hubs across the nation, Abdullahi proposed utilising these centers as infrastructure for unserved and underserved areas, aligning with the SRAP 2.0’s goal of promoting inclusive access to digital infrastructure and services.

On the subject of cybersecurity and digital trust, Abdullahi emphasised the need for collaborative efforts in developing affordable and indigenous cybersecurity solutions tailored for SMEs. He highlighted the importance of nurturing an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem to foster dynamic growth in the economy.

SMEDAN’s Odii shared that SMEDAN has initiated several digital literacy programs, seeking alignment with global standards and the NDLF. Regarding the Startup Act, he expressed interest in partnering with NITDA to sensitise SMEs, especially startups and contribute to the database for registration.

Odii revealed SMEDAN’s robust SME database under construction and expressed the agency’s eagerness to collaborate with NITDA to ensure the framework aligns with data entrepreneurs’ requirements. The joint efforts of NITDA and SMEDAN signify a commitment to advancing SMEs in Nigeria through comprehensive programs and strategic interventions.

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