Entrepreneurs urge govt to create enabling SMEs environment

Entrepreneurs urge govt to create enabling SMEs environment

Stakeholders and small business owners have called on the government to put in place sustainable policies targeted at small businesses in Nigeria to help them grow.

This call was made at the fourth edition of NIFESAF Business and Career Expo 2024 in Lagos recently.

They identified poor electricity supply, taxation and unfriendly business demands from government officials as parts of the challenges inhibiting the growth and contributions of small businesses, which they describe as the engine of Nigeria’s economic survival.

Global Chairman, NIFESAF, Fred Nnadike, at the event where locally made goods were showcased, said, “SMEs need an enabling environment to be able to thrive in whatever we are doing. There are things we can do for ourselves and there are things we cannot. If we have stable power, the cost of production becomes relatively cheaper for SME operators and manufacturers here.”

Calling for grants for businesses, Nnadike stated that grants would help business owners realise their dreams of expanding their businesses for export and make Nigeria’s economy a better one.

 “That is where we need the help of government. What our association is doing is promoting and encouraging local production. We encourage SMEs because they are responsible to a large extent for the economic growth of any nation. If you take away the SMEs, the system would collapse as the government cannot employ everyone and cannot do everything for everyone,” he said.

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Also, Chairman, NIFESAF, Lagos Chapter, Iyke-Henry Nnadike, said the organisation believed that small businesses require maximum support to achieve both the short and long-term economic growth and development the government has been yearning for.

He asserted, “In Nigeria, we have this program organised to send a signal to the government that SMEs require maximum support in terms of policies that are favourable for SMEs to thrive and grow the economy since they are the engine room for economic growth. In the aspect of tax, you will discover many small businesses are struggling because of high taxation.”

He noted that SMEs’ tax rebates would go a long way to help, coupled with a conducive environment for them to operate in.

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 According to Vice Chairman, NIFESAF, Lagos Chapter, and Chairman of Planning Committee for Economic and Career Expo 2024, Mrs Chika Alison, what attracts small business owners to the association is that they are poised to partner with the government.

“We can have the economic challenge that is eating deep into society not just reduced but get to the point of elimination. We have tried creating this unique platform where we can nurture, raise, and grow SMEs.

“We need to build Nigeria. NIFESAF is out to build SMEs to grow, nurture, stabilise and sustain businesses. That is the platform we are showcasing and giving today,” she averred.

She advised the government at the centre and sub-national to improve on human capacity development and promote skill acquisition.

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Founder, Farmskills Ltd, Bayo Yusuf, narrated his frustrating experience at a government parastatal, lamenting that some of them were not out to help business growth.

 “As an SME operator, there is a lot the Federal Government needs to do that they are not doing. I went to do nutrition analysis at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi, a government parastatal. I would have expected a situation where they wanted to encourage SMEs. Now, no one is asking me to do the nutrition analysis; I just wanted to do it to convince my customers. I want to take my products to the supermarket.

“Now, it is very expensive for an SME. I was informed it would take weeks for my result to be released on the excuse of when the electricity supply improves,” he explained.

 Over 40 million MSMEs exist in Nigeria, employing over 80 per cent of the country’s population and contributing about 50 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.


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