By JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
PRESIDENT of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, in-charge of Cross River and Akwa-Ibom states, Chief Iniobong Jackson, has said that the current financial system in the country does not favour the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises.
The MAN president who disclosed this during a one-day seminar on Standards of Governance, organised for Business Membership Organisation in Calabar, Cross River State, said the short-term loans currently preferred by banks would continue to hamper the growth.
According to him, the recipe for growth in the Organised Private Sector was only through issuance of long-term loans. Jackson lamented that the ongoing banking reforms initiated by the nation’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, did not consider funding of SMEs through long-term loans with interest rate spread over long periods.
”The current loan conditions are not favourable to the Organised Private Sector because they are short-term. Unfortunately, the ongoing banking reforms did not consider how to fund SMEs. With this situation, you will discover that the financial system is not programmed to make SMEs grow.
If you give long-term loans with interest rates spread over a long period, it will give room for growth. “He suggested that Business Membership Organisation should make it imperative to fashion out ways to improve on service delivery in order to advance their courses.
Also speaking on the need for SMEs to improve on their business environment, the facilitator of the seminar, Mr. Soji Apampa, said the Organised Private Sector, which makes up over 90 per cent of the business concerns in the country, could form vibrant advocacy platforms to project their plights.
Apampa, who is the Executive Director of Convention on Business Integrity, said: “Bailouts happened in some advanced economies as a result of strong advocacies on behalf of affected groups. We have not had bailout in Nigeria because of lack of advocacy.
The essence of this seminar is to bring BMOs together so that they can speak on behalf of their members. They need to know what government is offering and know how to benefit from it.” He said a similar seminar was held in Lagos and Kaduna, adding that its affiliate, Institute of Directors, was monitoring progress among the SMEs.