Mr Simbi Wabote, the executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), tasked young Nigerians on Friday with engaging constructively to plan strategically for the country’s economic survival.
Wabote spoke out during a one-day summit for small and medium-sized micro-enterprises in the Niger Delta 2021 on the topic of “Stimulating the growth of MSMEs beyond oil” in Port Harcourt.
He urged young Nigerians to prepare to be competitive beyond oil and gas in the emerging world economic order.
Wabote said that given that energy transmission was an immediate reality, the summit’s theme was very relevant and timely and needed to ensure that the Niger Delta region does not lag behind on the shift to fossil fuels and renewable energy.
He also stressed that the whole world is moving away from crude oil and urged Nigerians to accept changes in energy and other discovered resources in order to stimulate the economy.
Wabote praised President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for its continued progress in strategies and programs to diversify the economy and prepare Nigeria for contingency.
“Some of the measures such as closing land borders by smuggling goods and promoting patronage for local products to encourage entrepreneurs, among other things, are in line with policy.
“The government’s support in reforming our services outside the oil sector has helped the Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play a very important role in various sub-sectors of the economy that make up the non-oil sector.
“MSME owns 96 percent of the companies and creates 84 percent of the jobs in Nigeria. Despite the difficult times, it remains the backbone of the country’s economy,” said Wabote.
Ms. Natasha Akoti, one of the keynote speakers on “The healthy diversification of the Niger Delta economy beyond its dependence on oil,” also said that the Niger Delta region of over 30 million people has a sustainable percentage of poverty that needs to be curbed .
Akoti, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Legend Art Group, said that the Niger Delta, as one of the regions that provides revenue for the entire nation, is in an unfortunate state and that SMEs in particular are strongly supported as they scale up in their respective companies should.
“It is very fortunate that the federal government has put in place numerous mechanisms to address challenges such as access to finance, access to markets and providing a safe haven for the surveillance of SMEs,” she said.
Akoti urged the stakeholders involved in creating healthy frameworks to support the business, come together and provide solutions for all the finance, power and market strategies SMEs need.
She also called on the government, all stakeholders, the banking sector and all individuals to join forces to provide funds that will help strengthen the capacity of SMEs in Nigeria to curb unemployment and insecurity in the country.
In his speech, Mr. Suleman Yusuf, CEO and Social Entrepreneur, urged the governments of the states of the Niger Delta to provide entrepreneurs with easy access to business operations and to support young entrepreneurs with adequate means.