The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has described small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as predominantly the backbone of economic growth in any country, with ICT being a major driving force for enhancing efficiency.
Speaking at the 8th edition of Business 360 Clinics with the theme – ‘Leveraging on technology and innovation for enterprise productivity’ organised by the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) in Abuja, he averred that SMEs accounted for the successes of most businesses globally.
Describing the theme of the clinics as very apt and timely, Abdullahi affirmed that innovation and entrepreneurship were essential for long-term economic gains and prosperity.
“SMEs provide cornerstones on which economic growth and stability of any country solidly depends.
“According to World Bank Report on finances, SMEs were pronounced to represent 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment globally,” he said.
Also, report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, said SMEs contribute 48 per cent of the national GDP and account for 96 per cent and 84 per cent of businesses and employment in Nigeria respectively.
“SMEs are therefore key contributors to employment, economic and export growth to the Nigerian economy,” he stated.
The NITDA boss also explained how increase in revenue, operational cost reduction, customer service improvement, employee experience improvement and constant innovations are important for enterprise productivity while laying emphasis on technology as a driving force in achieving success.
The DG mentioned that NITDA had always been at the forefront of supporting SMEs and talked about how the agency through one of its subsidiaries had supported over 200 local startups that leverage on technology as tool for entrepreneurship.
“You may be aware that, as part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we launched and unveiled a four-year Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021 – 2024). One of the pillars of this roadmap, Pillar 4 – Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has initiatives targeted at identifying and prioritizing areas of support for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in addition to strengthening the innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) ecosystem – through the implementation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (MIT-REAP),” Abdullahi stated.
He gave a reassurance of the agency’s commitment to supporting SMEs through the development of the Nigerian Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Start up Policy (NDIESP) which, according to him is in line with the Nigerian Digital Economic Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) aimed at boosting the economic growth and diversification of the country.
“As an agency that is focused on issuing regulations that will positively impact the society and not stifle innovation or growth, we are keen on collaborating with relevant stakeholders to co-create regulations that will enable SMEs leverage digital technologies to contribute meaningfully towards economic prosperity,” he added.