Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, has said that the $160 million World Bank’s growth and employment (GEM) project was restructured to boost the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector and has led to the creation of over 26,000 jobs.
A statement by Mr. Bisi Daniels, Strategy Communications Adviser to the Minister, noted that the project being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) supports micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) operating in information and communications technology (ICT), entertainment, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, and construction sectors. Explaining the rationale for restructuring the project, the statement said the World Bank team had modified its existing equity window to a SME investment fund, which was geared at “boosting growth, creating jobs and increasing entrepreneurship”, Vanguard newspaper reports.
Daniels listed the restructuring carried out in conjunction with the World Bank team to include: “Strengthening the management team to deliver on the promise of the project; deploying more funds directly to SMEs, as opposed to using intermediaries; modifying the project’s existing equity window to an SME investment fund, which is a proven mechanism for boosting growth, creating jobs and increasing entrepreneurship; improving the coordination and partnership with the World Bank; and extending the duration of the programme to ensure that the results can positively affect and reach more Nigerians.” Daniels said: “GEM led to the development of the first Nigeria Leather Policy, which has been validated by stakeholders and approved by the federal executive council (FEC). “The Project supported the entertainment industry by funding two on-line music distribution companies with a view to reduce piracy and improving the income of content developers in the music industry.”