The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, has emphasised its advocacy for the establishment of Small and Medium enterprise, SME Bank through which small scale enterprises would access funds without the bottlenecks associated with the loans through other banks.
Addressing the Commerce and Industry Correspondents Association of Nigeria at a media parley in Lagos, the Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, said the major challenge inhibiting the development of SMEs in Nigeria remained inaccessibility of funds by the entrepreneurs, which has to be addressed by establishing a bank for the sub-sector.
Radda, who opposed the proposed scrapping of Bank of Industry by the federal government, maintained that more of such retail banks should be established along with a designated bank for the SME sub-sector.
According to him, the small and medium scale businesses would be more at home with SME banks than any other one.
As an agency saddled with the responsibility of catering for SME in Nigeria, the SMEDAN boss said it would establish an SME micro-finance bank to kick-start the process of creating SME bank.
However, Radda lamented that the agency was confronted by many challenges limiting its capability, among which included the Act of National Assembly that established the agency in 2003 to which the agency has been seeking amendment.
He informed that if the Act is amended by the National Assembly, the agency would be more empowered to develop SME sub-sector to the higher level. He said the agency would be able to formalise the SMEs as many of them remained informal by creating platform through which they could easily register their businesses and have easy access to fund at the proposed SME bank.
Radda, who noted that the agency was underfunded, said the agency would liaise with the government to allow it have 30 per cent of the tax on the luxury products imported into the country, emphasising that such luxury goods should be taxed more if imported into the country.
He maintained that the revenue from such tax would be used to fund SMEs as it is done in other countries.
He also appealed to provide enabling environment for the SMEs to thrive, while also charging the federal government to promulgate Competition law for nigerian economy, which would regulate monopoly and other factors affecting the economic growth in the country.
Meanwhile, the SMEDAN boss said there is the need for the government to ensure synergy among all agencies, ministries and departments, which are saddled with similar but complementary responsibilities rather than promoting unnecessary rivalry
“We see one another as competitors rather than collaborators. We have forgotten that we are all working for the government and for the well-being of the citizens.
“The SON and NAFDAC should not see each other as competitors, while SMEDAN and ITF should accept that they are complementing each other’s effort to growing the economy.”
He therefore promised that the agency would put in all efforts to make sure the SME sub-sector is used as a driver to take the nation out of economic recession, saying it has been collaborating with other agencies and organisation on vocational and entrepreneurial trainings, capacity building and financial sourcing.
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