By Ebriku John Friday, Abuja

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has tasked Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to make the country’s leather industry productive.

The SMEDAN director general, Dr Dikko Radda, stated this in his message at the opening ceremony of the Lagos Leather Fair, and also commended the organisers, sponsors and Lagos State for the vision and active role played to revolutionise the leather sub-sector of the economy.

The SMEDAN boss also disclosed that the agency was collaborating with Kano State Government to redevelop a N12 billion Industrial Development Centre (IDC) in Tiga town of the state into a world class leather cluster park and training centre, but with Public Private Partnership with stakeholders of the leather industry, including potential investors to embrace the project.

Radda who was represented by the Director, Engineering, Technology, Innovation & Infrastructure, SMEDAN, Engr. David Abu Ozigi, also emphasised to importance of the leather industry in job, wealth creation and generation of foreign exchange for the country.

He said: “The Lagos Leather Fair which is aimed at promoting the Nigerian leather designers, bring together the major players along the leather value chain and attempt to change the narrative within a potentially economically buoyant sector, as envisioned by its organisers Femi handbags.

“The fair is coming at a time when the nation is in dear need of economic diversification, the promotion of made in Nigeria goods and the zero-oil initiative. It is heartwarming to note that an economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is in place, which is aimed at achieving sustained inclusive growth. This is achievable through sustainable diversification of production, to significantly grow the economy.

“Of particular interest to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development  Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is the limitless business opportunities available to Nigeria Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) in the leather value chain.

“The Nigeria leather industry undoubtedly has capacity to generate large-scale employment; its potential to drive growth and contribute to GDP growth cannot be overemphasised. The MSMEs in this sector however need to be effectively positioned to contribute to job creation, wealth creation and poverty alleviation in the country.”

On the IDC He said, “SMEDAN is presently collaborating with the Kano State government to redevelop its industrial development centre (IDC) located in Tiga, Kano State into a world class leather cluster park and training centre, this is in recognition of the huge economic and job creation potentials of the leather industry.

“This initiative took into cognizance the comparative advantage of Kano State. The project has been estimated to cost N12 billion. Conscious of the fact that government alone cannot afford this amount and acknowledging the effectiveness and efficiency of a private sector driven business and infrastructure development initiative, a public private partnership ( PPP) approach has been adopted”, he said.