Governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has tasked operators of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to embrace digitalization to maximize the advantages of the already implemented African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
Sanwo-Olu gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the 7th edition of MSME Exclusive Fair on Tuesday in Lagos.
The newsmen report that MSMEs Exclusive Fair is an annual exhibition of indigenous products, especially the residents and the Lagos State-funded schemes.
The theme of the six-day event expected to end on Sunday, July 3 is “Sustainability of MSMEs on AFCFTA Opportunities for Global and Digitalised Economy”.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, noted that the state recognizes the various contributions of the MSMEs to the economy and national development.
“The fair gives fulfillment of purpose because this occasion presents an opportunity for us to celebrate and recognize the contributions of our burgeoning MSMEs sector not only in the States economic growth but national development.
“I am delighted to note the milestone that has been achieved over the last six years by participation; as a result of this intervention program which is aimed at providing a platform for MSMEs.
“It provides the platform to showcase their products and attracts the desired patronages,” he said.
The governor said that the theme of the 2022 MSMEs fair was apt because the AFCTA agreement was expected to bring huge gains to the MSMEs in Nigeria.
“The theme of this fair, Sustainability of MSMEs on AFCFTA Opportunities for Global and Digitalised Economy is apt because the AFCFTA is expected to bring huge gains to MSMEs in Nigeria.
“AFCFTA agreement can play the role of unlocking innovation, growth, and productivity across the continent but significantly for its MSMEs segment by translating spending power to economic development.
“This is particularly important when we consider that MSMEs represent about 90 per cent of business and more than 50 per cent of employment worldwide.
“In our country, the contributions of MSMEs to the economy is even more significant as they represent about 96 per cent of businesses and contribute 75 per cent to national employment,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu added, “As a result of the improved integration of economic and fiscal policies, as well as the breaking down of barriers which poses serious challenges to trade among countries on the continent.
“The agreement will open a new vista of opportunities through greater access to new market and results in higher demand for goods and services will trigger increased manufacturing capacity.
“It will also lead to the creation of more employment opportunities and also facilitate economic transformation process which will be promoted by competition among industry players.
“The advantages of this agreement are quite enormous with a prospect of growing Africa’s GDP by an additional one trillion dollars.
We will take advantage of these emerging opportunities.
“We are designing and implementing policies and programs that would accelerate the actualization of our goals of sustainable trade, industrial and economic development.
Sanwo-Olu then urged the stakeholders at all levels to digitalize their operations to be able to lead economic reforms to take advantage of the benefits of AFCFTA to contribute to the economy.
Newsmen report that over 300 MSMEs were on hand at designated stands at the fair with various indigenous products ranging from African fabrics, homemade products, and other essentials.