Numerous trade policy and regulatory factors can erode the capacity of MSMEs to commence business operations and grow sustainably, foster innovation and expand, generate income and create employment opportunities. Improving the business environment by lifting constraints and filling gaps in the regulatory and administrative support mechanisms at national, state and local levels is central to achieving improved economic growth and employment creation through value chain development, trade and exports. Therefore, SEDIN is supporting private and public sector partners in Nigeria to promote trade and investment by supporting governments at federal, state and local level in creating an appropriate environment in which private sector activities are effectively promoted and administrative cum infrastructural services required for business growth are enhanced.
Two important elements are needed in fostering private sector activities: first, establishing basic rules and legal systems to enable private businesses to engage in fair and free business activities; and second, establishing physical infrastructure such as transportation and power systems that can enable active production and trading of goods and services and exports.
Generally, it is the responsibility of the private sector to demand for reforms and it is the responsibility of the public sector (government) to provide reforms. However, in many cases, there is a gap between demand and supply often caused by a number of factors ranging from the inability of the two parties to effectively dialogue and communicate, lack of awareness on the part of the private sector of the challenges of the public sector and vice versa, lack of capacity to provide the necessary reforms, misconceptions and mistrust between the public and private sector among other things. The role of SEDIN therefore in promoting trade policy and business enabling environment reforms is principally to address these challenges without taking up the role of the private sector in demanding for reforms or the role of the public sector in supplying reforms but by supporting both parties to play their roles effectively. SEDIN’s approach therefore is to support both the private and the public sectors to promote trade and business enabling environment reforms. These supports include the following:
- Research and Public Private Dialogue (PPD)
Research help to identify gaps within the business and trade environment and provide evidence for relevant actions. In addition to identifying gaps and generating evidence through research, SEDIN supports facilitated dialogue between public and private sector actors to discuss on identified gaps, challenges, and possible reforms. PPDs also provide opportunity for constructive engagement and feedback on government policies and impacts.
- Policy advocacy
SEDIN supports policy advocacy by private sector associations and also develop the capacity of the private sector actors for effective advocacy.
- Technical support to public actors for relevant reforms and implementation
SEDIN provides direct technical support to public sector actors (relevant government agencies) for policy reforms and implementation. This includes capacity development, support to policy reviews and engagements, policy awareness and monitoring among others.
- Private sector actors including business membership organisations (BMOs), business and trade associations, chambers of commerce at federal and state levels.
- Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMES). They are the direct beneficiaries of SEDIN’s programme and also partners. They are adequately engaged in implementation process and their challenges and experiences are fed into the policy reform process to achieve desired impacts.
- Government agencies at federal, state and local level.