SMEDAN DG Harps On Importance Of Funding SMEs
The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in the country would remain stagnant and not grow with the lack of access to affordable finance, the Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria, Dikko Radda, has said.
He also lamented the huge capacity deficits in key institutions with a direct mandate of implementing the recommendations in the national policy on MSME.
Radda, represented by the Director, Policy Planning, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of the agency, Wale Fasanya, stated this at the close-out meeting on the Investment Climate Reform facility technical support to SMEDAN and Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the implementation of the new national policy on MSMEs (2021-2025) in Abuja
According to him, one of the major constraints to starting or growing enterprises revolves around finance.
He stated, “Government at both national and state levels have in the time past provided some form of financial interventions but with little impact. The need to robustly address the funding challenge obviously needs special study or research to be conducted.
“The report from such study should be able to suggest more sustainable and inclusive approaches to address the funding challenges faced by the operators and SMEDAN is open to partnerships in this regard.
“Most business owners in Nigeria don’t know they need capacity. People just start without them having the capacity. Some people start business just because they see others doing it. We need to let them know that they need capacity and proper packaging for them to sell their products.
Sometimes, it is not the absence of finance but it is accessibility that is difficult. Maybe we can reduce some of the bottlenecks with these meetings.”
He said efforts were currently on to provide needed supports to states towards activating the implementation of the various actions at the State and Local Government levels.
Radda said that the support provided by the ICR brought together critical stakeholders that worked on the 154 strategic actions contained in the implementation matrix of the national policy.
This, according to him would allow Ministries, Departments and Agencies to key into the recommendations of the policy
He said, “I want to thank some of the MDAs with responsibilities that borders on NMSME development for submitting the names of the focal persons as recommended in the coordination mechanism.
“The involvement of strategic MDAs and Business Membership Organisations in developing sector-specific action plans and nomination of focal persons will certainly increase the pace of activities that will drive the development of the NMSME sub-sector.
A national consultant with ICR facility, Dr. Ada Chidi-Igbokwe, said the increased ownership of the national MSME policy by both public and private stakeholders would enhance buy-in for policy implementation.
According to her, the intervention by the ICR brought to fore the need for lower participating organisations to implement the policy rather than heavy reliance on high level government participation.
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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