By: Tony Odey
The World Bank has scored the Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) very high for the effective ways it has been stimulating Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the rural communities across the Federal Capital Territory.
The Senior Financial Sector Specialist of the World Bank, Pranita Moni Sengupta, made this assessment and commendation when she paid a special visit to the Headquarters of the Agency, in Mabushi District, Abuja.
Her words: “We have assessed extensively the business activities of Abuja Enterprise Agency within the last 3 years and for its firm commitment in stimulating Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the nation’s capital, particularly in the rural areas of the six Area Councils of FCT, and therefore, have rated the Agency very high.”
Sengupta, who was responding to the presentation made by the acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Mr. Chudi Ugwuada-Ezirigwe, expressed her satisfaction with the leadership and management of the Agency for upholding global best practices in all areas of its business operations, as it concerns SMEs and entrepreneurial development in FCT.
According to her, it is exciting and impressive, considering the fact that the Agency’s engagement focuses more on the development, promotion and growth of Start-up businesses in rural communities of Kwali, Abaji, Gwagwalada, Bwari, Kuje and AMAC.
She noted that the World Bank areas of assessment include: accurate data gathering and management, capacity building, fair, equitable and transparent disbursement of funds to SMEs, effective and user-friendly ICT Network development, widespread advocacy and campaigns, courteous staff-client’s relationship, amongst others.
The Senior Financial Sector Specialist explained that the purpose of the visit was to assist the Agency to provide solutions on areas of challenges as well as working towards assisting the Agency to expand the capacity of SMEs in FCT.
The acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Abuja Enterprise Agency, Mr.Chudi Ugwuada-Ezirigwe, welcoming the guest to AEA, expressed deep appreciation to World Bank for establishing and sustaining strong partnership with the Agency and the FCT Administration over the years.
He extensively explained the activities of the Agency as well as achievements made so far; stressing that as an Agency of the FCT Administration saddled with the task of job creation, wealth creation and poverty reduction, AEA has held tenaciously to the corporate culture establishing the Agency, such as transparency, integrity, accountability, due process, courteous staff-customer’s relationship, to mention but a few.
Ugwuada-Ezirigwe, who used the opportunity to plead with the World Bank to increase its support to the Agency to enable the Agency capture more SMEs in its database, stressed that bringing more SMEs into the Agency’s database will help in the actualization of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which is hinged on reducing poverty drastically.
The Acting CEO also thanked the FCT Administration under the leadership of the FCT Minister, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, for providing the enabling environment for the Agency to discharge its mandate efficiently and effectively.
He, however, appealed to the World Bank to deploy its cutting-edge technology to assist in the training of the staff of the Agency, who in turn will transfer knowledge acquired to the SME operators in a bid to bridge the knowledge gap noticeable amongst them.