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Stakeholders explore challenges afflicting SMEs

25 March 2014, 10:07

Abuja - The Centre for Public Policy Alternatives (CPPA) an independent public policy think-tank, said it had identified and proffered solutions to the challenges ravaging small and medium enterprises in the country.

This follows a seminar facilitated to provide a constructive forum for the exchange of ideas and information, held at the West Wing City Hall, Lagos Island.

The event focused on the risks and SMEs in the Nigerian business environment.

It was held under the theme, “The Role of Financial Inclusion and Access.”

Speaking at the forum, Dr Olufemi Olarewaju, Managing Director of CPPA, said the forum was organized to strengthen the decision making of government, small business owners and other stakeholders by providing policy-relevant information derived from high quality research and analysis.

“We are aware that youth unemployment is on the increase while small businesses also contribute a lot to the GDP. We aim to identify the challenges of the Nigerian business environment as related to small business owners, lenders, government, and regulatory bodies. We want to identify all the barriers and proffer solutions,” he said.

Stakeholders in the industry identified intervention-initiatives that could scale up provision of financial institutions to SMES in a timely manner.

Topics that were covered at the forum include incentives required to make institutions expand service coverage, how barriers to SME business registration can be addressed, opportunities available for building SME credit history and how the regulator could enforce prudential regulations to improve compliance and utilization of the SME funds.

Olutola Mobolurin, Chairman of Capital Bancorp, a guest lecturer identified factors limiting the development of SMEs in Nigeria.

According to him, they include high business failure due to poor business conception and plan, lack of risk capital by sponsor of business, weak and ineffective management, little or no collaterals, archaic/ inadequate laws for financial products, appalling legal enforcement of lenders rights financing-inordinate long litigation process, lack of vigor and thoroughness in the investigation and prosecution of fraud among others.

He however advocated fiscal incentives to stimulate growth of venture capital and private equity funds focused on SMES.

– CAJ News

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