By Naomi Uzor
Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) has lamented inability of the micro, small and medium enterprises, MSME sectors to access the Central Bank of Nigeria’s N220 billion intervention funds, saying the bulk of the money is still in the apex bank’s vault.
Speaking on the occasion of 7th NASME Annual General Meeting, the outgoing president of NASME, Alhaji Garba Gusau disclosed that the CBN released N220 billion for MSMEs, but due to stringent conditionality, bulk of that money is still in the CBN vaults.
“I would use this opportunity to call on the incoming Council to pursue access to finance as a sector agenda. In the N220 billion that the CBN released, each state is entitled to N2 billion each, if they meet the conditionalities. Unfortunately, some states are yet to feel the impact of this fund till now,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, the newly elected President and Chairman of Council, Prince Degun Agboade, thanked outgoing members of the Council for their selfless service for the past four years as he outlined a 7-point agenda to move NASME forward, adding that, the association being the largest BMO (Business Membership Organisation) representing various sectors of MSMEs noted for driving the country’s economy is repositioning to serve better the interests of MSMEs in Nigeria.
The Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Bature Umar Masari, said there is hope for the MSMES in the Nigeria 2016 budget proposal as there would be encouragement of the reduction in tax rates for small businesses with obvious advantages.
“The 2016 budget proposal has provision of financial training to market women, traders and artisans through cooperative societies, job creation to focus on every aspect of execution of the budget and provision of subsidized funding for priority sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals” he disclosed.
According to him, the 2016 budget proposal has made major provisions for driving the development of MSMEs and for the nation to be among the 20 most economically advanced nations in the world by the year 2020, serious attention must be paid to the development of MSMEs.
“MSMEs are the engine of industrial growth and generators of employment, creators of wealth and alleviators of poverty, SMEDAN will continue to support the development of MSMEs for economic growth and development in Nigeria through innovative and sustainable policies,” he stated.