World Bank’s Growth and Employment Project (GEM) Restructured To Boost SMEs
Okechukwu Enelamah, The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; stated that the $160 million World Bank’s Growth and Employment (GEM) project was restructured to boost the small and medium enterprise (SME) and has led to the creation of over 26,000 jobs.
According to MR. Bisi Daniels, The Strategy Communications Adviser to the Minister, the project being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) supports micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) operating in information and communications technology (ICT). Also, for organizations into entertainment, tourism and hospitality, manufacturing and construction sectors. Furthermore, in explaining the rationale for restructuring the project, Mr Daniels said; Finally, the World Bank team had modified its existing equity window to an SME investment fund. However, this was geared at “boosting growth, creating jobs and increasing entrepreneurship.”
Daniels listed the restructuring carried out in conjunction with the World Bank team. They include: “Strengthening the management team to deliver on the promise of the project; deploying more funds directly to SMEs, as opposed to using intermediaries; modifying the project’s existing equity window to an SME investment fund. Howbeit, this is a proven mechanism for boosting growth, creating jobs and increasing entrepreneurship; improving the coordination and partnership with the World Bank, and extending the duration of the programme to ensure that the results can positively affect and reach more Nigerians.”
He also said: “GEM led to the development of the first Nigeria Leather Policy, which has been validated by stakeholders and approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). “The project supported the entertainment industry by funding two on-line music distribution companies. Also, there’s a view to reducing piracy and improving the income of content developers in the music industry.”
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