By Princewill Ekwujuru
An entrepreneur and Chief Executive Officer of Rare Gems Limited, Talatu Ogunlana, has called on the federal government to allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) access capital at a single digit interest rate to help fast-track economic development and increase employment in the country.
She said the present lending rate of over 25 percent is frustrating and cannot allow SMEs in Nigeria to contribute its quota to economic growth.
Speaking at the launch of her company’s 2018 design collections in Lagos, Ogunlana also appealed to government to help SMEs with access to foreign exchange (forex).
“Our long time outlook is to see manufacturers lessen the cost of production.
However, the infrastructure needs to be in place. We need government to provide necessary infrastructure for us – power, access to capital at single digit interest rate and government policies that are business friendly to aid growth,” said Ogunlana.
Giving a brief history of her company, she said it started as a micro retail business in 2000 with a mobile retail outlet, metamorphosing into a limited liability company and a renowned brand for tropicalised jewelry made for Africa’s climate.
Based on a research commissioned by the company, Rare Gems brand of tropicalised watches was officially launched in 2017. “We launched out our wrist watch line in 2017, and due to the success of our first outing we decided to consolidate and bring out better designs for the 2018 collections,” she added.
Ogunlana noted that part of the keys to being a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria is the ability to look for ways to stay afloat.