The Nigerian government says to boost the economy and create more job opportunities, the furniture and wood enterprise cluster presently under construction at Industrial Development Centre (IDC), Idu, Abuja will be completed in 2021 for that sole purpose.
The Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Dr Dikko Radda said this during a facility tour of the project by SMEDAN and the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CICAN) in Abuja Nigeria’s capital.
The SMEDAN-CICAN facility tour was aimed at accessing the completion level and benefits of the ongoing SMEDAN furniture and wood enterprise cluster project.
Radda who was represented by the Deputy Director, Department of Engineering Technology and Infrastructure, Mr Anthony Igba stated that the ongoing project which began in 2020 had undergone 80 per cent completion and would be finished in 2021.
He recalled that the African Development Bank (AfDB) provided a grant of $600.000 for SMEDAN to conduct a viability study for the conversion of the IDCs across the country into cluster parks.
According to him;
“In the bid to make the IDCs functional, SMEDAN conducted a viability study in 2018 to ascertain if they are viable in Nigeria with comparative advantage for marketability in huge markets, hence Abuja was chosen for the pilot furniture project.
“The study showed that the conversion of the IDCs into furniture clusters will be a viable project and equally provide the type of infrastructure and machinery to be put in place to equip the entrepreneurs.
“This project will enable the MSMEs to come up with products that are competitive within the West African market region, it will take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
Radda also noted that there will be a One-Stop-Shop comprising SMEDAN, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Environmental Board.
“The MSMEs that will be operational in the cluster will have easy access to product testing and certification, while it will provide machinery and facility to enable quality products and competitiveness,’’
The SMEDAN boss who said the MSMEs involved in furniture making had been operating under harsh conditions, assured that the cluster on completion would meet global standards and provide a conducive environment for the MSMEs to thrive.
“We will work with MSMEs associations and equally will provide the machinery needed to ease production,’’
The Abuja pilot scheme, sitting on 1.8 hectares of land, comprises an administrative block with One-Stop-Shop, workshops, warehouses that are expected to accommodate 525 MSMEs when operational.
The cluster park is an agglomeration of enterprises in a geographical location to promote the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) for economic growth.
However, there are 23 clusters across the country, on fast-moving consumer goods, textiles, spices, leather and others established based on the comparative advantage of the states.