With 2022 projected to be a year of positive growth by private sector stakeholders, a construction industry expert, Temitope Runsewe, has said that only deliberate investments in public infrastructure will bring a much-needed boost for Nigerian SMEs in 2022.
Runsewe stated this at a webinar hosted by Lagos SME BootCamp, analysing key economic forecasts for 2022 and their impacts on small businesses.
Tagged "Business Outlook and Opportunities for MSMEs in 2022"; the webinar featured financial literacy expert and Co-founder Awabah, Tunji Andrews and Temitope Runsewe, Managing Director, Dutum Construction Company.
SME strategist and the convener of the Lagos SME BootCamp Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye put together the event as a resource to help SMEs prepare for the socioeconomic projections in 2022.
Answering questions on the economic forecasts for the construction industry and how infrastructure would impact the operations of SMEs, Runsewe expressed optimism about the Federal Government's proposed $32bn infrastructure fund. He noted that the fund aims to bridge Nigeria's infrastructure deficit and bring private capital into public infrastructure.
Speaking further, the construction expert said, "Infrastructure is key for economic growth, and we expect more growth in our sector and project that construction and infrastructure activities will increase in 2022. With the Federal Government committing to seed the Infrastructure Fund with about $2bn of its own money, the private sector will be encouraged to invest in the fund, and we will see increased liquidity for the sector."
He added that these investments in public infrastructure would bring growth for SMEs in Nigeria as increased liquidity in the real estate and construction industries usually impact the entire economy, especially in terms of job creation and new business for SMEs.
On his part, Mr Andrews emphasised how critical it is for SMEs to be well-acquainted with their business operating costs for 3 - 6 months ahead to prepare for socioeconomic challenges like Nigeria's foreign exchange issues. He also advised business owners to take advantage of technological solutions as much as possible and always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives that will help them cut unnecessary costs.
Expanding further on this, Tunji Andrews said, "Business planning for SMEs needs to be thorough; small businesses need to analyse how much they are spending in a short to medium term framework and understand what is keeping the value of their cost of capital the same."
Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye advised SMEs to embrace innovation and think of ways to leverage technology for growth. However, he warned that not all technology is necessary at every stage and that SMEs should justify every spend and be doubly sure that it will yield the expected results.