The German Agency for International Corporation (GIZ) has announced the commitment of up to 23.5 million euros for the implementation of the second phase of its Pro-poor growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria Programme (SEDIN).

This second phase has been newly commissioned by the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ), which allocated new funds for a three-year extension until March 2017.

Thomas Kirch, GIZ country director, told BusinessDay that the GIZ would provide 20 million euros for this three-year project and had since last year also received some additional funds of about 3.5 million euros from the European Union, which would also be implemented in this next phase.

The GIZ-SEDIN programme continues to cooperate closely with other development partners operating in the various fields of action, including the EU, DfID, the World Bank and USAID.

Speaking at the strategic partner forum of GIZ-SEDIN in Abuja, Kirch said SEDIN will continue in its partnership with various public and private sector stakeholders at the three levels of intervention (federal, state and local) and in the three states (Ogun, Niger and Plateau).

However, there will be an increased focus on addressing the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the four areas of interventions, including supporting financial system development, improving the enabling business environment, trade policy and facilitation, as well as value chain promotion.

Under supporting financial system development, SEDIN will, apart from continuing with financial literacy activities, strengthening of microfinance banks, and developing micro insurance products, also facilitate value chain and MSME finance.

SEDIN will also continue to foster public-private dialogue and support the setting up of one-stop shops in the three implementing states, but will also develop activities in support of better awareness of stakeholders for consistent and transparent MSME taxation.

But unlike the first phase, SEDIN will not limit its activities to the promotion of cross-border trade in the ECOWAS sub-region, but will also promote unleashing more domestic trading opportunities.

The project will continue supporting agricultural value chains (cassava, potato and a third one still to be selected) and a non-agricultural value chain (affordable housing).

Furthermore, it will also link up more with the other three areas of intervention (e.g. value chain finance, one-stop shop for housing, trading opportunities for promoted value chains).

“The second phase will even work more in this area of small, medium enterprises and in addition, also on agricultural value chains. We have started that already last three years but there would be even more stronger focus on value chains also in the housing sector to have a look on energy efficiency and work together with our partners in the states, Ogun, Plateau and Niger on this topic,” Kirch told BusinessDay.

He added that during its first three-year phase, SEDIN had among other things strengthened the microfinance sector in the areas of financial and social management of microfinance banks in three programme states, improving financial literacy, consumer protection and supporting the development of the micro insurance sector.

He noted that in the field of business and investment environment, there had been an improvement in the database on the needs and situation of MSMEs and that contributions had been made to steer Nigeria’s policies more towards MSME development.

SEDIN had also earlier initiated measures which have been taken up by the authorities in charge (e.g. improvement of the local infrastructure and supplies of agricultural inputs) that have had a positive effect on local business development.

Meanwhile, Kirch noted business activities of MSMEs in three agricultural value chains (shea butter, potato, cassava) have been expanded and corresponding support measures have been prepared for the value chain “affordable housing”.

At the forum, Fidelis Ntufam Ugbo, secretary, National Planning Commission, commended GIZ’s partnership so far with Nigeria, but said there was need for government to begin to replicate GIZ projects and programmes across the country, saying there was also need to look at ways of strengthening the partnership between Nigerian and German governments.

Umma Dutse, director, consumer protection department of the CBN, while giving a goodwill message, also commended GIZ for cooperating with the apex bank on its financial literacy programme.