Stakeholders have decried the low level of access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), noting that it serves as one of the key challenges militating against sustainable growth.
They stated this yesterday at a virtual pre-conference ahead of the Nigerian Economic Summit (#NES28) tagged: “Key Drivers for Economic Prosperity: A Critical Look at Entrepreneurship Policies”.
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The Board Director of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mrs Wonu Adetayo, noted that the 2021 MSME survey reported a 4.5 per cent decline in MSME growth, indicating a drop from 41.5 million recorded in 2018 to 39.6m in 2021, primarily due to the impact of the pandemic; which means that 1.9m MSMEs have gone out of existence.
“As Nigeria looks to welcome a new government, economic growth should be a frontline issue and an immediate area of focus, considering that entrepreneurship is a critical driver of the economy. To implement policies and interventions, entrepreneurship policies must be addressed, including the attendant gaps, to promote access to finance,” she stated.
The Managing Director/CEO of Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Mr Tony Okpanachi, said the DBN provided technical assistance to financial institutions, partial credit guarantees and capacity development for MSMEs.
The Chief Economist and Director of Research and Development at NESG, Dr Olusegun Omisakin, stated that access to credit and an unconducive business environment had a significant impact on production capacity and the prices of products which contributed to inflationary trends as seen in July figures.
The Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, who was represented by Mr Sunday Ewans, Director of Enterprise and Promotion at the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), stated that, “A 2020 impact assessment survey of MSMEs, small businesses said they lack adequate access to affordable finance, skills and market access.”
She, however, said the ministry had developed an MSME development fund based on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to help develop a robust scheme for small business owners to tap into.