.To promote SMEs, business clusters
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is working collaborating with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, stated this during a meeting with the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Radda at the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
Ekere said he was convinced that SMEDAN would be able to assist NDDC to develop specific programmes relating to entrepreneurship that would be sustainable and create jobs for the unemployed youths. A situation, he said, was capable of boosting the nation’s economy and reducing the rate of youth restiveness in the Niger Delta.
The Managing Director said it was paramount for the NDDC to tackle unemployment, poverty, restiveness and other vices, adding that, “One of the major causes of insecurity in our terrain is poverty and unemployment; and that is why we are here, because we believe SMEDAN is strategically located to assist us.”
Ekere said the challenges facing the Niger Delta region arose from the fact that over 70 per cent of the land mass was below sea level, making it difficult and very expensive to build infrastructure.
The Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Radda assured of the agency’s commitment to partner with the NDDC to achieve its mandate of developing the Niger Delta Region. He praised
the NDDC boss for identifying and acknowledging the importance of SMEDAN in helping to actualize the mandate of the Commission.
Radda stated that the SMEDAN was set up to facilitate the development and promotion of MSMEs in Nigeria and the visit of the MD of NDDC to the Agency was highly commendable and apt.
He said that the Agency was well positioned to create jobs and alleviate poverty in the country and always ready to work with the NDDC in the implementation of its work plan for the development of the Niger Delta region. He also said that SMEDAN had 23 Industrial Development Centers nationwide and four of the centers were located in the Niger Delta.
Radda lamented that facilities in the IDCs were dilapidated with most of the equipment obsolete coupled with the problem of land encroachment.
According to the Director General, SMEDAN was planning to convert the IDCs into enterprise clusters where enterprises involved in similar products and activities will be located in the same place with all necessary machines, equipment and trainings provided for them.
The DG assured the NDDC boss that SMEDAN would collaborate with his commission to see how both institutions could develop the sustainability of the IDCs located in the Niger Delta Region. He said SMEDAN would initiate a proposal that would be beneficial to the Niger Delta region and prayed that that the commission keys into it to develop the region.
He reiterated that SMEDAN had the experience and capacity to assist the NDDC in creating wealth and reducing poverty in the region through effective collaboration to move Nigeria forward.
The Director General of SMEDAN condemned the absence of synergy between government agencies and parastatals, noting: “We tend to see ourselves as competitors rather than collaborators.”
Radda noted that the NDDC boss’s visit to the Agency was a demonstration of good visionary leadership; and assured him of the Agency’s resolve to make him achieve his mandate at NDDC.
Amaka Agbu, Port Harcourt