For Nigeria and Africa to attain greater heights in the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises will have to play a significant role.
The President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Dr Uche Olowu, said this during a recent conference of the institute, according to a statement made available on Friday.
“We recognise the importance of MSMEs as drivers of economic growth and poverty reduction. Indeed, the SMEs have been copiously described as the lifeblood of any economy, which goes a long way in reaffirming the fact that a strong and thriving MSME sector is required to effectively develop a modern and dynamic economy and must therefore be strategically and consciously nurtured and managed,” Olowu was quoted as saying.
According to him, the various efforts and pursuits of the Federal Government in this regard are well appreciated, especially as this agenda has been well couched in the far-reaching Executive Orders on the ease of doing business and local content of the current administration, which have culminated in large awareness of made in Nigeria products.
Olowu said that a survey carried out by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the total number of persons employed by the MSME sector had been a steady progression in the total labour force in Nigeria, and it’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in nominal terms stood at between 48.47 per cent and 50 per cent.
“Truly, MSMEs should be the game changer given their potential and expected contribution in an emerging or developing economy. However, they are constrained by varied factors,” he noted.
According to him, 80 per cent maintain that access to finance remains their major challenge and they pay high tax rates of almost 30 per cent.
In addition to lack of finance and high tax regime, he noted that the MSME operators were further burdened by many and most times by conflicting and duplicated regulatory and other supervisory and government agencies.
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