An economic expert, Mr Franklyn Akinyosoye, has said the gap between Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the Federal Government is hindering the level of economic development in the country.
Akinyosoye, the President, Association of Business Development Professionals in Nigeria (ABDPIN), told newsmen in Abuja, that Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) were the key to bridging that gap.
BDSPs are consultants to MSMEs and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that provide intermediary services for small businesses.
They are professionals saddled with the responsibility of bridging the gap between small business owners, international organizations and the government.
According to Akinyosoye, SMEs and MSMEs have the potential of growing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country but this is not happening because the government has failed in engaging the BDSPs.
He said if the BDSPs were carried along and engaged accordingly in governments plan for small business owners in the country, the economy would be better off.
“For instance, if government comes up with an intervention and gives that intervention to an MSME, it messes up with the money and is not able to pay back, the money is lost forever.
“But if such intervention goes through a BDSP, he is able to set the MSME up, to manage the money and repay when due.
“Also, government does not want to lend or carry out interventions in such a way that it will give it to individual MSMEs; government likes to give it to a bunch, a few or plenty.
“It is the responsibility of the BDSP to put together those MSMEs as a body, a cooperative, to be able to benefit from such government interventions
“You need us to bring them together, because if we do not bring them together, most times, they do not have a way of coming together by themselves.
“ Therefore, if the MSMEs do not carry out their responsibilities, if they do not export the quality of services they are supposed to, the economy will not grow, our GDP will not grow,’’ he said.
He explained that it was the responsibility of the BDSPs to sustain the growth of the MSMEs, using the interventions of government, using their skills and experience.
This, he said, would ensure that those MSMEs were intact and were doing what they were supposed or have promised the government that they would do.
“So we are like a bridge, between the MSMEs and their growth, between the MSMEs and the government,’’ Akinyosoye said.
The expert said the association recently held a conference in Abuja, which brought together small business holders, consultants (BDSPs) and stakeholders alike in the sub-sector.
He explained that the conference, which was a maiden edition, was organised to address the issues surrounding small business owners and the consultants in the country.
“ The conference was held to bridge the gap between the MSMEs and the consultants which have been too wide.
“And there are some Nigerians who do not actually know that there are consultants called BDSPs and whose responsibility or area of specialisation is handling of small businesses.
“The conference served as awareness, as an orientation for small business owners or micro small and medium enterprises to know that there are some consultants that are specifically for them.
“It was also aimed at creating a discuss, on how small business owners can access finance, manage such finances, their working relationship between them and the consultants and then the intervention funds.
“ We also had the presence of government representatives and other stakeholders who addressed us on their various plans for the growth of small business owners.
Akinyosoye said the association planned to subsequently host the conference annually or bi-annually, depending on circumstances and situations.
He urged the government to ensure stronger relationship, collaboration and synergy with the association, to help grow small businesses in the country and increase Nigeria’s GDP.
The association has been in existence for about four years and has spread in about 16 states of the federation, including the capital city.