Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ABUCCI) has called on President Mohammadu Buhari to make the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector a top priority in his government policies.
Tony Ejikonyen, president of the Chamber, who made the call in Abuja, said SMEs over the years had been identified as the life wire of any economy in the world.
Ejikonye also called for the development of a well articulated Industrial Revolution Plan (IRP) and enterprise development programme aimed at ushering in a new era for industrial sector development in Nigeria.
He said it was important for the current administration to pay more attention to developing the domestic oriented industries in the country.
“The government should continue to provide support to strengthen the SMEs by introducing new measures and rationalising existing efforts to further develop resilient SMEs,” he said, saying in a bid to ensure the growth of SMEs, efforts should be intensified to improve the institutional support system.
The Chamber’s president said the presence of an institutional support system would facilitate access to financing through a market-driven strategy.
He said that in a bid to development the SMEs sector, efforts should also be made on the promotion of greater usage of information technology, which according to him, would lead to an increase in the awareness of product branding and protection of intellectual property rights.
“To enable SMEs in rural industries to penetrate world markets, efforts to enhance their competitiveness should be intensified.
“SMEs will have to adopt innovative approaches, including benchmarking against international standards, to meet the requirements of the increasingly competitive business environment,’’ he said.
While stressing the need for the development of a well-articulated IRP and enterprise development programme, he said this would usher in a new era for industrial sector development in Nigeria.
He called on stakeholders in the manufacturing sector to strengthen its competitiveness and capacity. This, according to him, will position the sector to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges arising from global and regional developments in trade and investment.
To him, encouraging the local production of goods and exports will reposition the manufacturing sector in the country.
“The government should place emphasis on improving intermediate goods so as to provide a range of economic benefits such as improvements in the balance of payments and foreign reserves.
“New approaches and initiatives should be developed to promote exports, ’’ he said.