… Says over 19m SMEs lack access to finance
The Federal Government has decried the fact that out of 17 to 20 million businesses that exist in the country only about 8 per cent (320,000) have access to finance from the banking and capital market scctors.
It stated that in response to this challenge government would be setting up Industrial parks for Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) across the country.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, disclosed this after the inauguration of the National Council on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Describing the Council on SMEs as a game changer for the sector, Aganga regretted that out of 17 to 20 million businesses that exist in the country only about eight per cent currently have access to finance.
The Minister who is the Technical Chairman of the Council also noted that the economy can only thrive faster than it is, if the SMEs which is a driver of the economy constituting more than 50 percent of the country’s GDP is not ignored.
“So if we are talking about inclusive economic growth, you cannot ignore this sector.
“Three out of four people employed in this country are from this sector, but we have never in the history of his country, treated the micro, small and medium enterprises as a key sector.
“As a result they have had to grow on their own. A country where you have about 17 to 20 million SMEs, and only eight per cent of them have access to finance from recognized institutions, shows that the system has not supported them in anyway.
“A country where you have SME’s and their cost of production is very high, there is no market access, no organisation, everyone does SMEs in one at or the other, that was the situation we had in the country.
“This is a game changer, what we are doing today is saying first of all let’s get organized, which is about developing institutional framework to focus only on that sector, bringing together all federal and state government
related agencies and development institutions, to get her as members of that council to address the problems of SMEs, we put them into seven pillars, these are cross cutting measures” he said.
Aganga further noted that though it is important to have a N220 billion fund, if there is no way of getting it across to the ordinary Nigerian.
“So access to finance, the President has charged us to come up with the financing value chain, we must make it easier, quicker for SMEs to access and making sure that they are able to run their businesses successfully, make money, turn them into a new consumer group, that will be buying all the products you will fail. That is part of what this council will address”.
He also noted that the council will further set up sub committee which will comprise of people relating to financing, Micro finance institution, commercial banks, Centrap Bani of Nigeria and the Bank of Industry.
“So it is not just a national state council, as part of the structure we are setting up state SME councils. The state SME councils we have compromises governors, and people in the state, trade associations, they will deal and address issue affecting SMEs in their state and make recommendations that have impacts on the national council.
“We would set up Industrial parks for MSMEs in the country to make it easier for them to run their businesses”.
Aganga said the Council as part of its mandate will also address the issues of market access which entails moving and selling goods produced across the country.
He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for taking the step to constitute the council adding that this was the first time “under any administration we have a concerted organised, institutionalized structures to address the issues of that sector”.
Source : SunOnline