Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives says Small and Medium scale Enterprises remain the catalysts for economic revolution.
The Speaker who stated this during an interactive session with delegation from the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Kaduna State Chapter, noted that any country that fails to provide economic opportunities for its citizens is doomed.
He said the National Assembly had passed legislations in record time to support the growth of SMEs and the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“In the House of Representatives, and by extension the entire National Assembly we have realized this, and recently in partnership with the Executive we have been able to make laws, sometimes in record periods to increase our ease of doing business and banking.
“As a matter of fact, I was jokingly saying to the Vice President that we are almost getting at par with the Lebanese Parliament which is popular for beginning the process of law and getting it passed and signed in the
“And we did that realizing that we cannot afford to allow the economic space to be contracted in Nigeria, it has to be expanded and we pledged our total support for any Government’s initiative that would lead to the expansion of the economic space in Nigeria. We have recognized that SMEs are the engine room of economic growth.
“Most times, we are bound to think more in the line of more foreign direct investment or in terms of corporations working in Nigeria, but from my little knowledge of someone who studied International and Commercial Law, I have come to realize that corporations really just encourage the flow of wealth within citizens of the corporations, and ultimately the money is repatriated elsewhere.
“SMEs however remain the engine room because they create wealth that remains within the system, but the corporations just suck the wealth for the people of the corporation for them to just ship it out of the country. That is why SMEs are the real catalysts of economic revolutions in the financial market.
“This was the subject of engagement between us and the Executive. You know that our own is to make Laws and we have been trying to do that through the ease of doing business. We have moved that further on the
ranking, so that therefore means that you can talk to whoever in whatever part of the world and they will be able to take you serious now knowing that once they come to Nigeria they will have collaboration, cooperation of all the agencies that are involved in either registering businesses, facilitating business start-ups and etc.”
The Speaker also assured that the National Assembly will continue to provide legislative support that will create enabling environment for entrepreneurs.
“We will continue to do that and I know that you have our back, in the nature of job you do. Whatever you do, even if it involves some kind of tinkering with our Laws, you are free to suggest, let us see what we can do.”
Speaking on the North East and the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Dogara said the National Assembly has provided legal and enabling framework that will guarantee enduring measures to address the devastation in the area.
“Then on the issue of the Northeast, it certainly is close to my heart, you know as Legislators we represent the people and the devastation in that region is simply too much, and it was a considered opinion that ad-hoc measures may not be able to address the scale of devastation in that region.
“We needed a legal and enabling framework within which we can kick-start the rebuilding of that region. It is not something that we can recover from in the next five to 10 years. So if we were to leave the approaches to Government interventions, along the line any leader that comes along may say we don’t want to do this again and that’s the end.
“We thought that we can escalate that to having an enabling framework that clearly defines an entity that has the power to sue and be sued. So that people can relate with that entity as is, instead of having some Government Committee which cannot be sued and cannot sue.
“So that formed our desire to have the law, and thankfully with the coming of the President, as soon as it was passed by Parliament, Mr. President saw reason in this and assented to it, and it has become an Act. The only thing we are waiting for now is for the flesh, so that it can be built into it, and it can takeoff and I believe that it will happen very soon.”
While appreciating the Chamber of Commerce for realizing the level of devastation in the North East and its desire to raise fund to support the IDPs, Dogara reiterated his resolve to use his 50th birthday anniversary to raise funds to support the IDPs and other vulnerable members of the society.
“We want to thank your Chamber for realizing that business has to be conducted ethically. That it is not just about doing business, not about Small and Medium Enterprises, but that you are looking at those core things that define all of us as individuals: the care for each other, love for the vulnerable ones, people who are being persecuted, so on and so forth, so I appreciate this concern, you made an offer to raise funds and assist whatever initiatives it is we have in the Northeast.”
Speaking earlier, Mathew Abogbaimhe, leader of the delegation and Chairman of Kaduna State Chapter of the Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce, lauded Speaker Dogara’s disposition towards the plight of the vulnerable members of the society as well as the National Assembly’s commitment to addressing the plight of the IDPs.
“We are glad that the Senate and indeed the House of Representatives under your leadership have led various efforts in addressing the plight of IDPs.
“Mr. Speaker, we are also aware of your unrelenting advocacy for support in resetting people affected by the insurgency in the north east as well as your appeals to the international community on the matter.”