The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has secured a ₦1 billion funding agreement for small businesses in Katsina state.

The matching funding pact with the state, scheduled to take off this first quarter with an initial injection of ₦250 million, was signed on Thursday, at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja during the visit of Katsina State Governor, H.E. Dr Dikko Umaru Radda.

The agreement marks another milestone in SMEDAN DG’s ongoing efforts to facilitate financial access for SMEs nationwide. Similar to agreements previously signed with the Anambra and Enugu state governments, the funds disbursed will be available to SMEs at single-digit interest rate loans, targeted at addressing the problem of expensive access to capital and expansion funds.

The MoU has as its goal, to transform the Industrial Development Center (IDC) into an impactful incubator, providing SMEs with discounted access to modern tools and essential infrastructure, including power, thereby enhancing local production quality and reducing operational costs.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Odii thanked Governor Radda, who served as the immediate past DG of the agency for six years before his emergence as governor, for his continuous commitment to the agency’s mission.

Mr. Odii said, “The potential of SMEs in Nigeria to drive lasting growth and prosperity is undeniable. The evidence of their resilience and innovative brilliance is all around us. That said, government support remains crucial for their success. This is our mission at SMEDAN: to create an enabling ecosystem for SMEs to thrive, offering ready access to finance, streamlined market entry, and regulatory support.”

Governor Dikko Radda highlighted the importance of SMEs to national growth and their central role in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s economic agenda. He emphasized the efforts of the Katsina State SME development agency and stressed the necessity of collaboration with SMEDAN to harness the contributions of SMEs in job creation and economic revitalization.

Governor Radda also lauded Mr. Odii’s creative approach and milestone success within his first 100 days at the agency’s helm, urging staff members to extend their full support to him.

Hon. Ayodele Olawande, the Minister of State for Youth, who was also at the event, commended SMEDAN’s dedication to engaging young people productively and providing essential support for their creative expressions and income generation.

In a related development, SMEDAN flagged off its flagship initiative, ‘One Local Government One Product’ (OLOP), designed to empower local cooperatives to stimulate production by supporting businesses leveraging the unique resource advantages of each local government. Selected cooperatives in the agribusiness value chain were awarded funds, 70% of which are repayable loans, as part of the initiative’s rollout of the year.

Mr Odii encouraged the prudent use of funds and prompt repayment, citing the potential of OLOP to address Nigeria’s food inflation challenge and boost export efforts.