FATE Foundation (FATE) recently held its 1st FATE Policy Dialogue Series on Entrepreneurship at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on the 3rd of December, 2015 with the theme – Positioning SMEs for Growth: How to Ensure Nigerian SMEs thrive Despite Economic Headwinds. The program brought together stakeholders within the Nigerian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector to discuss challenges within the Nigerian MSME Policy environment and proffer solutions to those challenges.

Delivering the welcome address, Mr. Fola Adeola, Founder and Chairman, FATE Foundation emphasized the need for collaborative efforts between MSME stakeholders and MSME Policy makers in Nigeria to attain a sustainable business environment. Mr. Tokunbo Talabi, Chairman Superlux Limited and VP, South-West, NASME, who gave the background context for the Program, noted that there were over 37 million MSMEs in Nigeria who employ about 84% of the total workforce in Nigeria and contribute about 48% to Nigeria’s GDP. Against this background, Mr Talabi stressed that it was imperative that a sustainable MSME Policy Framework be developed to strengthen and maximize the potential of the MSME sector.

The Program had Dr. Sarah Alade, Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, CBN; Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, Honourable Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ogun State; Dr. Friday Okpara, Director, Strategic Partnerships, SMEDAN; Mr. Abdulganiyu Mohammed, Divisional Head, South SMEs, BOI; and Mrs. Toyin Bakare, COO, SAS Textiles as panel discussants and Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, OMP, Lagos Business School as the moderator. The panel discussion was followed by an interactive questions and answers session.

Conversations of the day revolved around current Monetary, Fiscal and Taxation policies, their impact on Nigerian MSMEs, MSME Intervention Programs and strategies that can be employed by the Government to improve the current situation. A major recommendation that emerged in this regard was the need to urgently develop an impact assessment model that will guide the Government in the development of MSME policies and programs. More expert recommendations are contained in FATE’s Research Report on “A Review of the Nigerian MSME Policy Environment” which was launched at the event and is accessible at www.fatefoundation.com.

As FATE works to fully commence MSME Policy Advocacy in 2016, key discussion points from the Policy Dialogue would be collated and the key themes/agreements distilled for the development of key MSME policy proposals and action points. Against this background, FATE plans to work in partnership with relevant stakeholders in the MSME space to initiate and drive conversations on MSME Policy reviews and reforms and to see to the implementation of MSME Policy recommendations in 2016.