By Yusuf Goje
The BudgIT State of States Report for 2021 projected that Kaduna State needs to create 277,773 jobs annually over the next four years. This is in order to drastically reduce the unemployment and underemployment combined rate of 67%.
Not to forget the income poverty rate of 43.48% and the 8.04 million multidimensionally poor people, only second to Kano at 10.51million. More so, 73.2% of households in the State are also said to lack coping mechanisms for economic shocks.
The sector outside agriculture that can adequately address these disturbing socio-economic challenges is massive investments in promoting and supporting micro, small and medium businesses.
According to UNIDO, globally, micro, small and medium businesses constitute over ninety percent of all enterprises, contribute over fifty percent employment to the workforce and significantly contribute to global Gross Domestic Product.
While medium and large businesses need more capital, technical expertise and workforce; micro and small businesses provide opportunity for more people, with lesser capital and expertise, to establish and be involved in creating wealth.
It has been discovered that about seventy percent of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) industries account for development in developed countries. For instance, according to the E-Journal U.S.A – Economic Perspective, it states that: 99 percent of all American businesses are small.
Small businesses provides approximately 75 percent of the net new jobs added to the U.S. economy every year. Small businesses represent 99 percent of all employers. Small businesses employ 50.1 percent of the private workforce. Small businesses provide 40.9 percent of private sales. While in China, 50million small businesses produced 500million jobs between 1980 and 2012 (enwegbara 2013).
In 2013 a survey was carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), estimated that Kaduna State counted 1.6 million micro – enterprises, representing 2.4 million jobs.
This survey also estimated that Kaduna State counted 2,712 small enterprises (with fewer than 50 employees) and 170 medium enterprises (with 50 to 199 employees), representing a total of 114,132 jobs.
Many years down the line there have not been any comprehensive, well coordinated and implemented interventions to support this number of micro and small enterprises to grow, sustain and scale up. Insecurity has made life more difficult for these businesses.
The incoming administration should revamp the Kaduna Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA), beyond attracting the medium and large-scale investor, to also ensure ease of doing business for micro and small businesses in the State.
Lets engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.