Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are predominantly the backbone of economic growth in any country and have accounted for the successes of most businesses globally, with ICT being a major driving force for enhancing efficiency.

This was made known by no other than the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, at the Abuja Enterprise Agency Entrepreneurial Complex in Abuja where he delivered a keynote address titled; ‘Leveraging on Technology and Innovation for Enterprise Productivity’ at the 8th edition of Business 360 Clinics by the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA).

Mallam Abdullahi described the topic as apt and timely. He affirmed that innovation and entrepreneurship are essential for long-term economic gains and prosperity. “SMEs provide cornerstones on which economic growth and stability of any country solidly depends ,” he noted.

He said; “according to World Bank Report on finances, SMEs were pronounced to represent 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment globally.” The NITDA boss argued further that in Nigeria, according to report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, SMEs contribute 48% of the National GDP and account for 96% and 84% of businesses and employment respectively. “SMEs are therefore key contributors to employment, economic and export growth to the Nigerian economy” the DG averred.

He 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 has always been at the forefront of supporting SMEs and disclosed how the Agency through one of its subsidiaries have  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 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”, the DG concluded.

By Wole Alao