Abuja-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said urged Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), donor agencies, and the public sector to leverages synergies for easy access to funds.
Osinbajo gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday in his address to the 2015 National MSMEs Summit with the theme, `Entrepreneurship for National Development: The Place of MSMEs in the Economy Under the Change Agenda’.
The vice president suggested an effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism for MSME funds to address the existing gaps and enable the economy to grow.
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“We need very effective monitoring and evaluation so that we can then address where exactly the gaps and the shortfalls are.
“But today, it is evident that the programmes are there; it is evident that the resources are there; it is also evident that the entrepreneurs are there; those who want to get engaged are there.
“But we need to make that very important link between the two.’’
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He said that it was either there was no connection or that it was difficult for the entrepreneurs to access funds.
The vice president observed that the reason for the difficulty was because officials were not required to account for each of the beneficiaries of the funds.
“I think it is very important going forward that all those in the public sector should sit together and work out a way by which we are able to actually measure all the deliverables in this sector.
“For instance, we know we are supposed to fund a certain number of people; who are these people? Can we verify them? How much are they getting?
“In what ways are their performances measurable and how do we measure their performances?’’
Osinbajo said that effective coordination among agencies was needed to remove the overlaps and streamline all the different interventions in order to avoid waste.
He called for concerted efforts towards removing the bureaucratic bottlenecks in the process of doing business in the country.
According to him, red tape makes Nigeria one of the worst places to do business in the world.
He said that it would require determination on the part of the people to clean-up the environment and establish a one-stop-shop for doing business.
Osinbajo stated that the Buhari administration is determined to give every Nigerian the fair chance to do business by easing access to business permits after due process.
He urged the summit to go beyond mere talks to taking concrete actions aimed at promoting the Nigerian spirit in growing business in spite of the economic challenges.
According to the vice president, this thinking informed the restructuring of the public service to include persons, who could help actualise the promises of the administration.
He said that the informal sector would be encouraged to thrive in order to create more jobs and wealth for the nation.
In an address, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry, and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar, said that the summit was aimed at removing all the bottlenecks to investment.
She said that Nigeria was blessed with no fewer than 44 types of solid minerals in sufficient quantity.
She said that the government could reduce poverty and joblessness among the youth by taking advantage of all the solid mineral types in the country.
“One of the most critical challenges confronting the nation is how to ensure that the strong micro-economic performances translate to improvement in the living standards of our citizens.
“This is why the development of the MSMEs is imperative in view of dwindling oil revenue.
“This is a sub-sector that has the potential to create jobs, reduce poverty, grow the middle class, and shift the paradigm of wealth in the country,’’ she said.
She said that though the sector contributed immensely to the national economy, it was faced with numerous challenges of access to finance, access to market and information, inadequate infrastructure, high cost of doing business, and the lack of business development skills.
She promised that the administration would pay the relevant attention to the sector for economic growth via proper policy focus, constant dialogue with entrepreneurs, and harmonisation of fragmented initiatives by MMSEs.
Alhaji Bature Masari, the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria, advocated the establishment of an MMSE Bank to position the enterprises for empowerment and job creation.
Masari said that the reality uncovered by the dwindling of oil revenue called for the diversification of the economy.
According to him, MMSEs are in a position to drive the diversification of the economy.
He said that statistics showed that in 2010, 17.3 million MSMEs provided employment for no fewer than 32.4 million people and contributed 46 per cent to the country’s GDP.
He, however, said that another survey carried out in 2014 showed that MSMEs grew to 32 million and provided employment for 59 million people, representing 84.2 per cent of the labour force, and contributed 48 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP while raising export by 7.2 per cent.
Masari added that at least 99.8 per cent of the 32 million of the MMSEs are micro enterprises.
He called for deliberate efforts to support the sector. (NAN)