An economic expert, Mr Franklyn Akinyosoye, on Wednesday said that additional and continued interventions of the Federal Government would engender growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
Akinyosoye, the President, Association of Business Development Professionals in Nigeria (ABDPIN), said this in an interview in Abuja
According to him, SMEs have a big role to play in the growth and development of the country but the only way they can achieve this is by government support.
“SMEs in Nigeria have a very big role to play, but I think the major role lies with the government.
“Government has to create more palliatives for them because we are already seeing the results of this encouragement from the government that is why the GDP is rising.
“It is the encouragement that the SMEs get from the government that will make them contribute their own quota in order for the country’s GDP to go up.
“If you look at the figures from the recent GDP report, you will find out that there have been serious improvement from the non-oil sector and it is as a result of government encouragement.
Akinyosoye stated that other than palliatives, the government should also come up with more policy statements that would contribute and make the SME sector in the country to thrive.
He commended government’s effort so far in bringing up some policy statements in that regard, adding that a lot could still be done.
He gave instance of the 41 items that were banned from being imported into the country, saying that the ban of some of those items had yielded positive results in the country.
“If you take toothpick for instance, we were formally importing toothpick, but the refusal to give dollars to the toothpick importing business men has made the toothpick industry in Nigeria to grow.
“Also is the case of pencil, we do not have a factory of pencil in Nigeria, but for the first time in the history of this country we are going to have it due to government intervention.
“So, government has a major role to play in the growth of SMEs in this country,’’ Akinyosoye said.
He further urged that government agencies be given the necessary encouragement to effectively carry out their mandate so they could support the growth of SMEs in the country.
He said, “the SMEs can’t be so effective if Custom is not effective; Custom is one major agency in Nigeria that if anything goes wrong, there will be export issues in the country.
“And once there is no export, local produce will not be able to sell their goods and thus, dollar will not come in.
“The FIRS is another agency, if they effectively carry out their duty, they will rake in more money for the government and if the government has sufficient funds they will provide interventions to SMEs.
The expert commended the government in its effort to positively grow its GDP, while urging that more effort should be made to get the country fully out of recession.
He also urged the government to focus on capital rather than recurrent projects because it was the capital project that finances the economy.
Akinyosoye reiterated that the association would on Oct. 3 to Oct. 4 hold a conference on SMEs Development Consultants and Business Service Providers in Abuja.
He said the conference would bring together over 150 of its members spread across 15 states as well as stakeholders to deliberate on ways of improving small businesses in the country.