By Yinka Kolawole
THE Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, said it has come up with recipe to tackle some of the challenges militating against the optimal performance of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, sector in Nigeria.
Director-General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Radda, said this became imperative in order to properly position and develop the sector, which he described as all-important. Radda who was represented by SMEDAN’s Director of Enterprise Development and Promotion, Dr. Wale Fasanya, stated this at a workshop on Enterprise Development Solutions jointly organised by SMEDAN and Hudson Group in Lagos.
“A cursory look at the contributions of MSMEs to national economies justifies the need for governments to provide the enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive. There is therefore no doubt that nurtured and well structured MSME sub-sector can contribute significantly to employment generation, wealth creation, poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria. SMEDAN has been involved in designing programs and projects, creating the appropriate platforms and partnerships for addressing some of the known plethora of constraints of MSMEs”, he stated. Radda listed some of the initiatives of agency to ameliorate the challenges of MSMEs:
National collateral registry: This will allow MSMEs to secure loans against assets such as machinery, livestock, and inventory, and boost the financial inclusion plans for the sector.
SME rating: As globally practiced in most emerging economies, SMEDAN is championing the establishment of an SME rating agency to enhance competitiveness and ease access to funds. This is a business rating model different from a credit rating.
Credit information portal: This is intended to ease the task of sourcing for information regarding available credit facilities for MSMEs. The Portal provides an information pool that will assist entrepreneurs make informed decisions in getting loans and credits from financial institutions within their locations.
One-stop-shop: A platform to minimally reduce the bureaucracy of starting and growing an enterprise in Nigeria. It allows for the enablers (NAFDAC, SON, CAC, etc) to synergize in the delivery of their mandates to MSMEs.
Market linkages: Creating and growing market database for the real-time and on-time use by MSMEs. There are different markets for different products and services. Information on these is sparse and sometimes stale. New marketing platforms are emerging and the MSMEs must be consciously connected.
Equipment linkages: One major problem aside the cost of acquisition is the dearth of information as to where the appropriate equipment can be sourced. Towards ameliorating this, SMEDAN is developing a database in partnership with both domestic and foreign equipment manufacturers, fabricators and leasers.
Access to workspace: Access to functional workspace particularly for Start-ups is a major issue in Nigeria. Towards this, the agency has initiated moves to create Small Enterprises Incubation Center to be located within the existing Industrial Development Centres across the country. Such Centres will address the challenges MSMEs usually have in affordable utilities.