Tuesday, February 27, 2018 11:00AM / Abuja Chamber of Commerce &
The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Adetokunbo Kayode, said stakeholders have advocated for targeted funding mechanism for the Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to boost the country’s economy.
Kayode said this in Abuja on Thursday during the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture council meeting. He said that commercial banks’ structures for SMEs in the country were tedious. According to him, the stakeholders will push for the establishment of a SME bank to be driven by the organised private sector before the end of the year.
“The mechanism of funding for SMEs is tedious, the strategy of government is good, the intension to fund is there but how do we get the money to those that need it. ‘‘Also how do you ensure that these monies are not diverted to other things? So we are proposing to both the Local, State and Federal Governments to adopt what is called social economy as form of finance leasing.
“Social economy will pay more emphasis on supply of goods and services; for example, farmers will be given attention to facilitate their farming and even pay for their insurance rather than giving them money. “We know today our banks are not structured for long time funding and that is still the mechanism the government is using,’’ Kayode said. He said Bank of Industry was operating for both big, small and macro industries, adding that the bank would never achieve the purpose government had in mind for funding SMEs. According to him, the country needs an institution that its focus will be principally on SMEs.
“Before, Nigeria used to have banks like Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry and People’s Bank targeted for SMEs,’’ Kayode said. He said that the stakeholders at the meeting were expecting about 2.8 per cent to 3 per cent growth in 2018 Gross Domestic Product.
Kayode said that although the country came out of recession, there were still a lot to be done. ‘‘The economy has been on the frontline, things have been going on better, and ease of doing business has also improved. “Government strategy is working but NACCIMA believe that there should be consistency in physical policy implementation,’’ he said.
Mr Ahmad Rabiu, Kano State Commissioner for Commence, Industry, Cooperative and Tourism, said the meeting was for Public Private Sector partnership to review matters of the economy. Rabiu said they would come up with advice for the government and also acknowledge where the government made progress. He called for continuous engagement of Public Private Partnership to improve the economy, adding that there were still huge deficit in infrastructure in the country. Rabiu further stated that the stakeholders were happy with the war against corruption by the Federal Government.
He said that the closure of the boundary had helped in the promotion of different products in the country. ‘‘The closure of the boundaries has helped in the development of industry and commerce; today the farmers are benefiting from it because before most smuggled goods are cheaper than the one produced in the country,’’ Rabiu said. He called on government to declare state of emergency on infrastructure, to make the country’s business competitive with other countries.
Mrs Iyalode Lawson, the National President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), said the meeting was to ensure that ease of doing business advanced the growth of the economy. Lawson called on the Federal Government to improve on the country’s electricity supply as such was the backbone of SMEs in Nigeria. ‘‘We are trying to see how we can promote agriculture and add value chain to it in order to ensure that these areas of value chain impact on our economy. ‘‘The meeting is on how we can work together to let the government know the challenges and where it is doing well,’’ she said.
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