SME-DN MAKING SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC IMPACT IN EGI – OJUM
The chairman, SME Development Network Board of Directors (SME-DN), Cyprian Ojum, said that evidence have shown that the people of Egi and OML 58 communities have started benefitting from the meaningful economic development in the region through the instrumentality of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development center in Egi.
Ojum made this assertion to over 500 entrepreneurs that gathered at OML58 Small Business Initiative Summit 2013, at Obite Civic Centre Egi region in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government area of Rivers State,
The SME-DN Board chairman stressed that “the accomplishment of small business initiative in this very short span evidenced by the testimonies of some of the beneficiaries are not only laudable but a monumental feat that is worthy of emulation.
He stated that SME-DN centre in Obite, sponsored by Total E&P Nigeria Ltd is a resource and incubation centre for business that has created an enabling environment “to be all you can be intellectually and entrepreneurially advising the people to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the centre to make a living and better their lot.
In his remark the president of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Engr. Emeka Unachukwu said Nigeria's quest for rapid economic development will be achieved through the proper development of the small and medium enterprises (SME'S) as this sector remains the bedrock for economic development of any serious nation.
According to him no country can achieve its desired growth without its government providing a genuine environmental condition for the players in SME's sector to thrive.
Unachukwu who made this declaration while presenting a paper titiled:
“Harnessing the Roles of SME's Regional Economic Development”, said “the only way you can develop a place is to develop SME's and one way to develop the country is what the people of Egi has started from the grassroots”, adding that every other part of the country should come to Egi and learn.
“What you are doing in Egi, if it works Nigeria will contribute to the progress of the country. What you are doing today is in the plan of the government but government does not know how to start it”.
The PHCCIMA helmsman commended Total E&P and other corporate bodies that have put strategic plans for the light of economic development to shine in Egi town.
He who also stressed more on the roles of SME's sector to a nation's development, said in Nigeria 31 million people are engaged in SME's and this sector holds 80 per cent of the total enterprises but regrettably contributes as little as one percent to the total GDP.
He, however , said the story was quite different from what was obtainable in advanced countries, like in the Asian countries where SME's contribute 40 per cent of GDP while in Europe and the United States (US), SME's contribute 50 percent to GDP.
Head of Sustainable Development, Total E&P, Mr. Chika Chinwah in his remark said “Total Exploration and production Nigeria encourages partnerships amongst local actors to make sure the local population shares in the benefit of economic growth resulting from the company's activities. Hence the SME-DN centre was established in recognition of the company's role in providing the host community with a strategic support framework that seems partly from TEPNG vision and motivation, and partly from the expectations, needs and demands of the host communities.
The event climaxed with the launching of the Small Business Initiative Brochure.