Stakeholders advocate policies to drive competitiveness of SMEs

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s business space have advocated the need for government policies and increased access to raw materials as a tool to drive the growth and competitiveness of small-scale industries in Nigeria.

Speaking during the National industrial business summit in Abuja on Monday, the director general of the Nigerian Association of small-scale industrialists, Ifeanyi Oputa decried the increase recorded in the country’s imports amidst untapped economic resources.

For him, there are gaps when it comes to issues relating to government policies in creating enabling business environment for small businesses to thrive.

He noted that the summit with the theme: ‘the future of small scale industries in Nigeria: opportunities and challenges ‘ was aimed to build strong partnerships for resource mobilization and market access for increased social-economic inclusion.

In his remark, Markus Wauschkuhn, head of SEDIN-GIZ program of the German government stressed the need for a deepened understanding of the operational, regulatory and financial challenges facing the small-scale industries in Nigeria.

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According to him, the German government through the SEDIN program is working to improve the business environment and policy framework for MSMEs development.

“The program aims at facilitating local economic development and strengthening selected value chains, fostering economic literacy and entrepreneurship competencies and MSMEs development in Nigeria.

“The target groups of SEDIN are owners and employees of MSMEs as well as members of other economically active low-income households.

He further noted that the program is currently being implemented at the federal, state and local government levels. “The nine focal states include Kano, Plateau, Kaduna, Ogun, Oyo, Lagos, Niger, Edo and Abia state.

In his remark, Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President stated that president Buhari’s administration in an effort to remove impediments to the growth and development of enterprises in Nigeria had introduced the National MSME clinic.

“It is one of the strategies aimed at improving local manufacturing. The MSME Clinics were introduced to bring key frontline Government Agencies and Stakeholders to interact with players in the MSME space, in order to remove impediments to the growth and development of enterprises in Nigeria.

“Some of the critical areas of focus for the MSME Clinics are access to finance, business registration, product registration and certification among others.”

Representing the vice president, Mariam Atagum, minister of state for trade and investment said that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) had approved the National Action Plan to drive reforms aimed at making Nigeria a progressively easy place to do business.

According to her, the action plan is expected to further reduce the challenges faced by SMEs when accessing credit, paying taxes or moving goods across the country, amongst others.

“Furthermore, the Executive Order 001 (E001) signed by Mr President is to ensure that citizens have complete clarity on all government requirements and processes, better cooperation and improved information sharing amongst MDAs, as well as requiring proper communication of approval or rejection of service requests to Nigerians, within a stipulated time frame.

“It has been established that no nation thrives without deliberate and concerted efforts towards the development of policies and programmes that facilitate and enhance the growth of its MSMEs.

“In this regard, the Federal Government of Nigeria will continue to explore possible ways and means to grow the economy, through effective collaboration with critical stakeholders, with a view to granting this critical sector, the desirable support it needs,” she said.

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