Owerri Chamber SME group urges govts to build skills acquisition centres
May 1, 2023136 views0 comments
By Saby Elemba, in Owerri
The Small and Medium Enterprises Group of the Owerri Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (OCCIMA) has urged both state and federal governments to build skills acquisition centres and infrastructure to support the growth of small and medium enterprises in the country.
Gerald Nkwekegbu, vice president, SME Contact and Mobilisation Group of OCCIMA, and vice chairman, services, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), in a telephone interview said the massive building of skills acquisition centres and places to up-skill the teeming Nigerian unemployed graduates and school leavers for self-reliance would lead to the industrialisation of the country.
He therefore urged the incoming administrations at both the state and federal levels to anchor their administrations on creating more skills acquisition centres, equip them, and provide the needed infrastructure for the growth of small and medium enterprises in the country.
This will result in the production of more skilled young graduates who will create job opportunities for other youths to be engaged and thereby helping to curtail insecurity from the society, Nkwekegbu said, adding that, “if people are fully employed, nobody will think about engaging in crimes and destroying where he earns his living or earns his money”.
He further stated that the government should look into how to establish different measures to build the SME sector and channel the huge amount being spent on allowances of members of the National Assembly to this sector.
According to him, this would go a long way to curtail the rate of imports of foreign tools and other finished goods which are locally manufactured, help the sector to tackle its challenges as well as accelerate the growth of the SME sector in the country.
“The small and medium enterprise sector is the engine sector of any economy, and it is the highest employer of labour. Without the small and medium enterprise sector, there is nothing like enterprises, because jobs cannot be created without SMEs. It is only when you empower SMEs that jobs can be created,” Nkwekegbu said .
He described the financial sector, particularly deposit money banks in the country, as money collection centres, adding that they do not help to build the economy of this country or build SMEs. “It is only recently that they have picked a little interest in the small and medium enterprises sector of this country.
“Take for instance, in developed countries, there is always a data bank for SMEs. That data bank, in a place like China, they built warehouses; if you manufacture tools, you must specialise in manufacturing tools; if you manufacture nuts, you must specialise in manufacturing nuts.
“So that is exactly what I want this country to embark on. Let the various governments in the country build skills acquisition centres. In building the skills acquisition centres, let them be equipped with modern equipment that SMEs can anchor on,” Nkwekegbu concluded.