BY NAOMI UZOR
The Bank of Industry, (BoI), has said that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria can overcome the challenge of lack of access to finance by employing appropriate strategies suitable to their peculiar characteristics. Disclosing this at the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises, BOI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said SMEs are recognised as playing key roles in the economy of any society and Nigeria is not an exception.
He noted that in job and wealth creation however, they face numerous challenges including access to finance which can be overcome by appropriate strategies that must address their peculiar characteristics, adding that, VCF is one such strategy that can facilitate access to finance by MSMEs “Since challenges facing MSMES are numerous and multidimensional holistic approach is required to de-risk MSMES.
All hands must be on deck: entrepreneurs, governments, operators along the financial value chain, foreign development partners, governments at all tiers Local Govewrnment, state, federal- and regulator ” he stated. Olagunju stressed that factors limiting the growth of MSMEs in Nigeria are market access: weak local patronage, infrastructure: power, transport, water etc, support services: business development support, finance / capital:
perceived risky by DMBs, information: what to do and how to go about it and technology: dependence on expensive sophisticated imported technology. The President and Chairman of Council, NASME, Alhaji Garba Gusau, challenged the political gladiators on their programmes and policies for the MSMEs at all levels of governance, saying, that MSMEs development should be in the front burner of the political discourse.
According to him, to develop the MSME sector requires strong and supportive institutions and holistic infrastructural development as well as key and impactful sectoral intervention by Nigerian financial system, as a deliberate effort towards addressing the many neglect of the sector and that now that the elections are here again.