EMPOWERMENT FOR SME: Abuja SMEs conference will build capacity for AfCFTA – ACCI

 The Policy Advocacy Centre (PAC) of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says the  first Abuja Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Conference and Exhibition is geared towards building the capacity of SMEs for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The conference, scheduled to hold from  Aug. 16 to Aug. 17, is being  organised by several stakeholders.
It is coordinated by the PAC, ACCI under the patronship of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.
A statement by Olayemi John-Mensah, Media/Strategy Officer of ACCI, on Friday stated that the conference and exhibitions would address internal hindrances working against SMEs existence in Nigeria.
John-Mensah said that the event would fast-track implementation of the new National MSMEs Policy, proposal for legal framework to harmonise SMEs taxation, regulatory permits and ease of access to governmental incentives to the SMEs.
“The conference will also focus on creating a statutory annual platform for bringing together stakeholders and operators in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises to address the challenges of the sector.
“Nigerian government has introduced so many programmes and policies but the SMEs sector is still facing problems of access to funding, multiple taxation and lack of access to government incentives,” she said.
According to a statement from the organisers, the conference is built as a statutory annual meeting point to analyse and proffer solutions to those problems.
It also offers platform for stakeholders in both government and non-governmental level to grow and empower SMEs operators.
CBN’s Governor, Godwin Emefiele, will at the event deliver a keynote address on several efforts of the apex bank to energise the economy and particularly the SMEs sector.
As at today, the CBN has over 25 interventions targeted at growing the economy.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo will also speak on many initiatives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to grow the SMEs sector.
Other keynote speakers include the  Executive Director, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Mr Olusegun Awolowo, whose agency has been implementing successful interventions to groom the SMEs for the export market within the context of AfCFTA.
Also, to speak is the Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, on how the agency has been deploying backward integration to grow the SMEs sector through the free zones enterprises.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been supervising the Presidential initiatives on the MSMEs sector, is to chair the event.
President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), John Udeagbala and the President, ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar are chief hosts.

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