In order to make SMEs more viable and productive in the nation's economy, the federal government is set to crash their cost of accessing fund.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Olusegun Aganga in Lagos. The minister who spoke during an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP pointed out that the cost of accessing funds to start and run SMEs includes; "costs associated with securitisation as well as CAC and FIRS processes, among others." "With the presidential directive that the Bank of Industry, which lends at single digit interest rate, be recapitalised, many more SMEs will be able to access cheap funds at minimal costs when the cost-reduction process is completed".
Aganga said that all over the world, SMEs empowerment had become the main economic growth strategy, considering the high employment generation capacities of SMES, adding that, with about 17million SMEs in Nigeria, the creation of five million jobs was very possible.
He stated that, "recent data provided by the National MSMEs collaborative survey undertaken by SMEDAN and the National Bureau of Statistics, put the number of MSMEs in Nigeria at 17,284,671million, with total employment put at 32,414,884. If each of these SMEs are empowered to create one job each, that makes about 17 million jobs; if 50 per cent of this figure create one job each, that means 8.5 million jobs will be created.
"If a quarter of the total are empowered, and they create one job each, over four million jobs will be created. The figure is workable and conservative, and I've directed the Parastatals to get it done as a key performance index. Our job is to put structures in place to make it happen."
While encouraging more entrepreneurs to come up with great ideas that could create quality jobs and enhance inclusive economic growth, he said the federal government was committed to providing the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He reiterated that all the factors needed for profitable and sustainable business were abundant in Nigeria, citing market and raw materials as critical success factors of business/investment.
The minister said, "Furthermore, we have concluded modalities for on-line registration of MSMEs to enable us have current data, formalise the informal enterprises, ease the cost of registration, streamline the tax regime and attend to other issues inhibiting business take-off, performance and competitiveness."