United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), a specialized agency in the United Nations system that assist countries in economic and industrial development has trained 160 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs across six political geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
These MSMEs were selected out of over 5,000 that applied for the training which is being funded by European Union.
Making the disclosure during the second project awareness dissemination event on Thursday, October 27 in Lagos, UNIDO Regional Director Representative to Ecowas, Mr. Jean Bakole said, this intervention programme was designed to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs to produce quality Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and to also remain in business during Covid-19 period.
Bakole said out of these 160 MSMEs, 28 were selected from North West, 32 from North Central, 16 from North East and 51 from South West, while South East and South-South produced 13 and 22 respectively.
The UNIDO regional director said, “The overall objective of the project is to increase the resilience of Nigerian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the context of Covid-19 pandemic and to support the creation of decent jobs/employment, improve supply chains, and promote transformative economic recovery and growth.”
He added, “The direct objective of the project is to maintain access to essential health service, through socio-economic analytics, and pro-active early recovery and social protection activities, targeting vulnerable groups.”
According to Bakole, the direct outcome of the project is to strengthen the capacity of elected local MSMEs/ manufactures including at least 30 per cent women-led and 20 per cent youth -led businesses to upgrade the production processes and adopt standards and technical regulations as a reference for production of high -quality PPEs and healthcare products to meet local demands and for exports to ECOWAS sub-region.
Making her remarks, H.E Ambassador Ms. Samuela Isopi, European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, and ably represented by Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nigeria, Ms. Cecile Tassin- Pelzer said, “This event marks another important milestone in the effort to help a wider audience understand this project, with a view to learning lesson and look forward to a fruitful and satisfying conclusion.”
She said, this project is part of European Union’s effort, with its objectives to strengthen the capacities of local and medium manufacturers to locally produce international quality PPEs and healthcare products, but also to keep them afloat, support creation of decent jobs, improve supply chains and contribute to the economic recovery.
She added that the focus on women and youth, who are involved in the textile and garment industry and who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, is also an important aspect of the intervention project of the EU. She added that EU will continue to partner with Nigeria in the area of her needs including in the health sector of the country.
While making his remark, the president of Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Dr Abdulrasheed Yerima expressed appreciation for the efforts UNIDO and its partners are making to lift SME out of economic challenges, adding that NASME is also committed to be part and parcel of this project.
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Otunba Francis Meshioye also commended UNIDO and all its partners for the second event to further strengthen the capacities of the MSMEs to continue to produce quality products, including high quality Personal Protective Equipment. He said the MAN has conviction that this project will continue to improve the capacity of SMEs, adding that MAN will continue to support UNIDO to improve the SMEs Sector.