By Ifeanyi Nwoko
In a bid to boost the economic development of Nigeria through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) on Thursday, held a lecture for policy makers.
The lecture is aimed at creating an environment that will help tackle the many challenges faced by MSMEs, including challenges relating to financing and policy.
The lecture with the theme: “Financing and facilitating the development of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria”, brought together, lawmakers, bankers, development banks, SMEDAN, financial corporations, entrepreneurs as well as investors.
Speaking at the event, the Director General of NILDS, Prof. Ladi Hamalai stressed that developed economies around the World had MSMEs contributing about 80 per cent of their workforce.
Exemplifying with China, USA, Korea, Taiwan and Germany, she stressed that the sub-sector had the power to eradicate poverty in Nigeria through employment generation.
Hamalai said that SMEs in Nigeria could make similar contributions but regretted that their activities were being hampered by challenges which could be resolved.
“Some of these challenges include but not limited to: low level of managerial skills, difficulty in assessing external funds, sole reliance in risk taking by owner, low level of education or technical expertise and high interest rates.
“Of all these challenges, inadequate funding stands out as the major factor inhibiting the performance of the sub-sector as most business owners relay on personal savings since accessing loans is very difficult.
“I am particularly glad about the growing awareness and the efforts by both governments and private institutions to boost the performance of MSMEs in the country.
“It is my singular honour to to have seasoned experts and lawmakers in our midst: I am therefore confident that this public lecture will provide impactful outcomes and contribute to further development of MSMEs in the country.
While declaring the lecture open, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara acknowledged that MSMEs in Nigeria suffered grave challenges that hamper their development, stressing that they must be encouraged to develop Nigeria.
“On the part of the National Assembly, constituency projects are mostly centered on assisting the MSMEs subsector. For instance, in Bauchi state especially in Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa local governments which is my constituency, several projects such as water projects, clinics, roads and others have been commissioned to improve on the business environment.
“Also, I have recently sponsored the training of 750 women and youth on agriculture and practices at the Federal College of Horticulture, Dadin Kowa, Gombe State.
“These provisions notwithstanding, the sub-sector is yet to fully explore its full potentials as its growth rate is still very low and failure rate is quite high,” he said.
He pledged the commitment of the National Assembly to continue to make laws that will positively affect MSMEs in Nigeria.