Remi Nnadi is a Kaduna-based businessman. In this interview with Juliet Oyoyo, he discussed the challenges Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs in Kaduna State face and how he is overcoming them. He says interest rates charged by banks are too high for business people. Excerpt:
You are involved in the business of buying and selling of foodstuffs and other essentials. Can you tell us how it has been like, in terms of securing financial support from banks or cooperative societies?
My name is Remi Nnadi. Like what you asked, I can start from the beginning when I started business in this place. Sincerely, there has not been any help from anybody or government. Even with the finance houses such as the banks or microcredit finance institutions, I have not received any form of support but it has just been my personal struggles and commitment, and my staying focused on the power of God Almighty.
When I started my business, it was with a very meager sum. I struggled hard to secure help and support from different quarters, such as banks. I had approached one of the banks, but the interest rate was beyond me and I had no option than to withdraw and strive to move ahead on my own.
Are you aware that the government is giving out loans and credit facilities to people involved in small scale businesses?
If you are talking about presently, I am not aware.
This has been ongoing for several years running, sir.
Sincerely, I have not taken out time to find out, as previous attempts have been futile due to the high interest rates. And since I could not be able to cope with such interest rates, that; to me are on the high side, I decided to weather the storm by being focused and prudent.
How have you been able to stay afloat without external help?
Well, the truth of the matter is that, individuals who are also trading like myself, agree to sometimes release their goods on credit basis to me and in return, I try not to disappoint them in repayment after sales. These individuals have become my good friends in business. They have been very supportive as they release bags of rice in tons to me whereby, I repay immediately after sales.
Do you have any intention of expanding your business concern if you are opportuned to secure any loan facility?
If manna comes from above, certainly, I will be interested. As I earlier said, there has not been any encouragement from government and financial institutions. It has been God and associates that have seen us surviving the business climate.
If asked to quantify the returns, in terms of patronage and value for investment, how would you assess it?
There is a saying which I always try to uphold; “in every situation one finds himself, glorify God”. I will always glorify God for His grace, favour and immeasurable mercies. This is because, since I started off my business here, I will say that I am very proud to have been so favoured.
In what areas would you want assistance from the government?
Hmmm! That is quite a big one. Well, in all honesty, if one is able to secure a good financial support, in terms of loans, that will be appreciated. Sincerely, if one can secure a loan whereby, the interest rate is affordably low, why not. There is no businessman or woman who would not appreciate financial support with low interest rates.
Good financial support is always appreciated by any businessman or woman, because, that is where the focus is. Let us understand something here; if you go round the business community today, there is no one that will not take advantage of any financial support, especially from the financial institutions. The Dangotes, Otedolas and even the smaller names all use financial institution to promote their various businesses.
The government is reaching out to businessmen and women through the setting up of the Bank of Industry, BoI and other financial institutions that cater to the needs of the Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs. Are you aware of their existence?
Honestly, I am not aware of these institutions.
What is your view on decisions such as “Price Control Units” being introduced by government?
On this issue of price control being introduced by government, well, to me, it is not a bad idea if only it can be monitored and controlled by the implementers themselves. It is a good idea. I can give you a good example.
Take your mind back to the days of the military; the Buhari/Idiagbon regime. Somebody will buy something so costly but they will come and sell it at the controlled price but if they can give a generally acceptable controlled price, it will be for the good of everyone. It will be greatly welcomed by Nigerians, especially the common man on the streets.
Source : Independent