Why The FG Should Work With Clusters On MSME Interventions - Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye

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Monday, January 04, 2021 / 4:34 PM / Taiyese Nifemi for WebTV / Header Image Credit: Innovation Circle


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The Federal Government has been advised to leverage clusters and hubs in its intervention programmes for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Mr. Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye, Convener of the Lagos SME Boot camp made this call as a guest on a discussion reviewing the activities of MSMEs in 2020.

 

Describing the approach to the intervention by the government and private sector in supporting MSMEs in the year, Mr. Akintujoye alluded to the fact that there was a reactive response from both the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Assembly (NASS).

 

The Convener of the Lagos SME Boot camp noted that in his interactions with players in the MSME sector, only a few benefited from the various billions of naira committed to the interventions.He called for improvement in the execution strategy for assisting MSMEs in 2021.

 

Noting the concerns about a second COVID-19 wave, Akintujoye warned that it could lead to another dark season for the MSME sector.


He emphasized the need for effective leveraging of data aggregators, which he said was vital to achieving a greater effect on the activities of MSME.

 

"With MSMEs accounting for 41.5 million corporate entities in Nigeria, and with the majority of them being in the informal sector which is characterized by the absence of data, no information exists on how they operate", he said.

 

He noted that MSMEs provide 84% of employment in Nigeria, and so to achieve the desired impact of intervention programmes the government needs to consider the informal nature of most MSMEs.

 

According to him, some measures for improving data gathering around MSMEs should include;

  1. Using informal organizers/aggregators of MSMEs to dialogue with the government for sustainable partnerships such as cooperative societies, market women associations, transport union etc.
  2. Government painstakingly identifying business clusters in agriculture, beauty, fashion, construction support, food space etc.
  3. Ramping up of efforts by SMEDAN in collecting data of MSMEs.


Giving a review of the year 2020 activities  in the MSME space, he highlighted the key activities that stood out for him which are the following;

  • The suspension of Africa's biggest MSME support platform; The Tony Elumelu Foundation because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The landmark that was recorded by the Lagos SME Boot camp as it witnessed its largest gathering in 2020 with about 1,300 MSMEs in participation since its inception.
  • The MSME Standards event focused on the impact of MSMEs in the economy with experts.
  • MTN's all-encompassing program that provided MSMEs with training, technical support and funding.
  • The Mobilization of State governments to provide various platforms for supporting MSMEs, all of which helped cushion the impact of COVID19 among MSMEs.


On MSME regulation, Akintujoye said that the Buhari Administration has eased the tax and registration burden on MSMEs, with a lot of waivers put in place for filing, he noted that VAT and Company Income Tax (CIT) were also relaxed.

 

He added that the Revised CAMA 2020 Act suspended archaic regulations as it concerned small and medium-sized businesses. On the reopening of the land borders,  he said businesses could go back to trading across borders with transcontinental MSME trade partners.

 

Akintujoye appealed for more support for MSMEs in the year 2021, believing that success would rest in collaborative efforts between the public and private sector.


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