By Nkiruka Nnorom
LAGOS— Director-General of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, Mr. Emeka Okereke, yesterday, said ECCIMA would use the upcoming Enugu International Trade Fair to address the perennial problems confronting Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, in the country.
He also called on the Federal Government to readjust the administration of the N220 billion SMEs Intervention Fund, to allow promoters of small business unfettered access to the fund using the chamber as collateral for the loans.
He spoke when he led other executive members of ECCIMA to Vanguard Newspapers Limited Corporate Headquaters, Lagos, to announce plans for the upcoming 28th Enugu International Trade Fair, holding between March 31 and April 10, 2017.
Okereke said rather than seeking Foreign Direct Investments, FDIs, the government and other policy makers should look inward and fashion out ways to assisting the local entrepreneurs to fix the economy.
According to him, the current economic recession is an opportunity for the government to look for alternative means of growing the economy outside oil.
Speaking on the theme of the Fair, “Promoting Nigeria’s Industrial Sector and SMEs for Inclusive and Robust Economy,” Okereke said the Nigerian economy was checkered and affecting every economic cycle.
He said: “Before now, we talked about FDIs. There is nothing bad in that, just as there is nothing bad in God blessing us with oil. But we need to think outside the box and look inward, how we will be able to fix our economy because the FDIs come with portfolios and flight their profits.
“We do believe that the fair will challenge the policy makers and operators in SMEs to find a common ground to think outside the box.
Also speaking, Mr Jasper Nduagwuike, Vice President, ECCIMA, thanked Vanguard for its support to the chamber over the years, saying Vanguard had helped the chamber to not only move its dream forward, but serve the Enugu International Trade Fair well through its various publications.
He congratulated the Vanguard team over the promptness of news carriage in its online platform, saying it has become a reference point among the reading public.
In his remarks, Mr Adekunle Adekoya, Deputy Editor, Vanguard newspapers, attested to the tenacity of Vanguard Online, saying it is number one in Nigeria and number four in Africa, coming behind three other websites in South Africa, Egypt and Algeria.
According to him, Vanguard was not resting on its oars as it was determined to clinch the top spot from the leading countries, adding: “We can only do that with unflinching professionalism and continued patronage of our own people here. The more people visit our website, the more we will be encouraged to do more.”