The survival of the 21st century Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, (MSME) has been said to largely depend on the adoption and adaptation of digital technologies, hence, the call on entrepreneurs by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to embrace it to increase productivity and profitability of their businesses.
The NITDA’s Director General, Kashifu Inuwa, expressed this view as a keynote speaker at the 10th edition of Abuja Enterprise Agency’s Business 360 Clinics with the theme “Technology Utilisation and Innovation: Its Effect on SME Profitability and Productivity.
The NITDA’s boss who was represented at the event by the Acting National Coordinator, of Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation,(ONDI), Mr Yakubu Musa, said the effective utilisation of technology by SMEs will result in improved efficiency, and invariably leads to higher productivity. So, productivity increases when SMEs focus on progress, rather than perfection.
He maintained that there is a significant impact on the economic survival of the nation if technology is embraced. He said, “Technology utilisation exerts a significant impact on the economic survival of nations, particularly, in today’s high-technology market where technological innovations are rapid and disruptive. This has become the gains derived from the adoption and adaptation of existing technologies while also investing in the creation of new technologies to ensure sustained growth in Nigeria’s SMEs.
While acknowledging that technological progress allows for the efficient production of superior goods and services by SMEs, Kashifu noted that it remains the driver of global economic growth. ”They play a major role in the economies of all the countries in the world by their contribution to national economic growth and employment. SMEs contribute greatly to job creation and overall economic growth,” he added.
The DG informed that NITDA has undertaken several collaborative initiatives and programmes that are positively impacting Nigeria’s SMEs. He listed some of the collaborations to include a partnership with Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), on Digital Marketing for SMEs, Gender Techpreneurship Workshop for Women, a partnership with the AEA on Digital Innovation Training for 300 secondary school students in the Federal Capital Territory, and many more.
Earlier in his welcome address, the AEA Chief Executive Officer, Malam Shehu Abdulquadir, described the theme as very apt because it hinged on technological adaptation towards the profitability of SMEs because the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought a lot of distribution which has made technological adaptation compelling.
He stated further that the program was aimed at supporting the recovery of SMEs from the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that, supporting SMEs after the pandemic would help them gain their traction back.
He revealed that the Agency has disbursed N200 million to 850 SMEs in Abuja and by next month, it is expected to disburse other tranches of 3.5 million USD to over 2,500 SMEs.
He said beneficiaries of the first tranches have retired the grant disbursed by the Agency from the World Bank assuring that “we are going to get more people from diverse stakeholders across all the six councils in the FCT to benefit from it.