By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
The Honourable Minister of stateÂ Â for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola,Â has disclosed that the Federal Government, in its new initiative to boost the economy, will issue tax rebate and funding to micro, small and medium enterprises in the country. This is in a bid to generate employment for the teeming masses in the country.
Babalola said â€œthe Federal Government intends to provide more support to the micro, small and medium scale enterprises in the country to enable them play a pivotal role in the economy.â€
The support, according to the minister, â€œmay come in form of funding and tax rebate, among others.â€
Babalola disclosed this fact at a meeting with the executive council members of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) led by the President, Dr. Ike Abugu.
He said â€œThe SMEs are fundamental to the growth of any economy. They are the real people creating jobs in the economy. We need to create incentives for SMEs and entrepreneurs in the country.
â€œThe government is already supporting the SMEs through the agric credit guarantee scheme and other initiatives being implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria and also through the Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria. The government will find more structures and incentives to continue to support the development of the SMEs.â€
Earlier in his address, the NASME president had called for a comprehensive, economy-wide and an all-embracing stimulus package for the SMEs. This, he noted, had become necessary for the SMEs to continue to encourage entrepreneurship, create wealth and jobs, and act as catalysts for technological development and innovation.
Abugu also called for the establishment of SME banks in the country to provide funding for the enterprises.
â€œThere are currently no financial institutions specializing in SMEs in Nigeria today. The deposit money banks, as they exist in Nigeria today, are not much use for genuine SMEs that need affordable, long-term financing.
â€œWe comment the Hon. Minister for the support given to the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND). We urge you to continue to support NERFUND, with the aim of eventually converting it into a full-fledged SME-Bank,â€ Abugu said.
He canvassed for the implementation of a credit scheme for SMEs by the Federal Government.The NASME team at the meeting also include Vice-President (South East), Dr. Lizzy Okereke; Vice-President (North East), Hajia Maryam Dada Ibrahim; council member, Chief Rabiu Yohanna; council member, Dr. Ado Yusuf, and Liaison Officer, Ugwu Ejimnkeonye.
NASME was established in 1996 by agencies of the Federal Government, including the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Industry, and the private sector to coordinate and foster the promotion of SMEs in the country.