NACCIMA canvasses modern infrastructure, consistent regulations, e-security to push SMEs
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said that infrastructure deficiencies, regulatory inconsistencies and excesses as well as insecurit are impediments to the growth of the country’s businesses, especially the micro-, small- and medium- enterprises (MSMEs).
The body, therefore, proposes modern infrastructure, consistent regulation and technology-driven security across the country that will encourage investors and help small business owners to thrive.
According to NACCIMA, the government needs to provide effective support programmes that will help businesses to grow so that they can be relied upon as job creators and economic diversifiers.
Bassey E.O. Edem, national president, NACCIMA, said it is a common knowledge that Nigeria is facing an acute shortage of infrastructural facilities, which constitutes a negative impact on development and empowerment of the country and her people.
“All over the world, infrastructure development is the engine that drives the economic and technological growth in all ramifications,” Edem said at ‘Strategic Public Relations Conference’ held in Lagos.
Quoting the Global Competitiveness Index (2012-2013) where Nigeria ranked 130 out of 180 countries in overall infrastructural development, Edem said it is disheartening that countries like Mali, Ghana, and South Africa are far ahead of Africa’s largest economy in the provision of basic infrastructure.
He said the report maintained that infrastructural development in Nigeria requires a radical shift in political behaviour, good governance and public protection from exploitation by private companies as well as those whose main preoccupation is exploitation.
“Nigeria should partner with appropriate private institutions to devise a formidable process of attaining vivid infrastructure development in the basic sector that will contribute to poverty alleviation, create employment and position the country among prominent nations of the world,” he said.
On regulations, the NACCIMA helmsman said such is supposed to effect some improvements on businesses and job creation, with a resultant increase in the standard of living, adding that it should make such an improvement by changing individuals or organisational behaviour in ways that generate positive impacts in terms of solving societal and economic problems, including the macroeconomic challenges posed by unemployment.
“However, government regulations, which most times are inconsistent, have been the banes of business growth in Nigeria as a result of several factors which stem from taxes to the multiplicity enforcers from different arms of government. This negates the concept of government as consistent with the idea of free enterprise,” he explained.
According to Edem, the security environment within a polity has a great effect on the returns on investment. “Insecurity discourages business investment as it makes investment unattractive to investors. This is because it accelerates the cost of doing business either through direct loss of goods and properties or in business owners taking precautionary measures against business risks and uncertainty,” he stated.
“In Nigeria, the situation is not different. It is further compounded by the activities of hoodlums. In many cases, the fear that is driven to the heart of business operators results in actually halting or putting a stop to their operations. The outright closure of many of these enterprises does no one any good as the populace ultimately suffer. Generally, where there is no peace and security, it is extremely difficult for businesses to survive. Ordinary citizens having small- and medium-scale businesses suffer most as they cannot open shops for business transactions,” he further said.
He said the government must be proactive in dealing with security issues and threats, through training, modern methods of intelligence gathering, intelligence sharing, logistics and deployment of advanced technology in managing security challenges.
On the challenges of communication in a business environment, he said creating an active business requires effective communication practices in economic and business environment.
“A poor communication affects effectiveness and cohesiveness; reduces morale and decreases innovation among players in the business environment. It usually creates an opportunity for ineffective advocacy and can lead to bad policies that would affect businesses and reduce productivity in the sector,” he stressed.
The NACCIMA president also said that communicating openly and effectively, even during extremely challenging times, can help build trust, teamwork and cooperation among business owners and help to maintain the value of a business brand.
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