The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Olawale Fasanya has said that over two million businesses in Nano, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (nMSMEs) subsector died between 2017 and 2021 alone, pushing more than six million Nigerians into unemployment market.
He said the death of the businesses was largely caused by insecurity that had denied farmers access to their farms, inadequate access to affordable funds, high cost of doing business, inflation, and lack of access to local, regional and global markets among others.
He made this known at the opening ceremony of cluster empowerment programme on shea butter, organised by the agency in collaboration with the Niger State government, which was held in Minna, the state capital.
Represented by Prof. Fisher Yinka of the Partnership and Coordination Department of the agency, Mr. Fasanya said the cluster empowerment initiative was aimed at reinvigorating the rural enterprises and mainstream them into the formal sector to cushion the effects of the economic downturn on nMSMEs in the country.
The Director General, Niger State Commodity and Export Promotion Council, Fatima Wushishi, said the state produces 196,000 tons of shea butter annually of the 500,000 tons produced annually in West Africa, lamenting that the opportunities in the shea butter businesses had not been properly harnessed in the country.