Buhari Pledges To Remove Bottlenecks To Financing SMEs

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said he was committed to financing and developing Small and Medium Enterprises (MSEs) and removing constraints to doing business in Nigeria.

Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, stated this in Abuja at the first Nigeria-American chamber of Commerce and USA SMEs Financing Conference 2015.

The president explained that the future economic growth and expansion of commerce of the nation largely depended on SMEs.

He said his priority assignment was to remove the red tape, multiple taxes and other constraints to conducive business environment in Nigeria.

He said the SMEs signs and simplicity of structure gave them the versatility and flexibility that business needed in the world where preference and taste changed quickly.

“Inherent in their disadvantage gave them advantages; their size make them less able to cope with severe economic condition and rapid changes and uncertainty in business environment.

“This is why supporting SMEs must involve continuous focus and deliberate policy and regulatory engagement,” he said.

The president said that Nigeria, through the Central Bank of Nigeria, had made some efforts in the past to sustain funding of SMEs through conventional means.

He, however, expressed regret that in spite of the efforts made in financing the sub-sector, the consistent consensus had been that the SMEs were being grossly under-served in terms of low cost financing.

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“There are several reasons why these may be so; these may include how to deal with the share scale of numbers of SMEs that needs to access the conventional fund in order to make an appreciable impact.

“The significant part of problem of scale is the poor mechanism for disseminating information about the availability of financing; most SMEs don’t know the existence of such fund or how to access them.

“This is why in focusing on SMEs in Nigeria, this administration intends to work with organised market women groups, cooperatives and thrift society.

‘We believe by working with these groups, credit can reach the largest numbers,” he said.

He said government was ready to deal with many needlessly inhibiting problems of doing business for small enterprises.

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According to him, the priority assignment is to remove the red tape, multiple taxes and other constraints to conducive business environment.

He said government involvement in business itself and red tape encouraged rend seeking behaviour.

“This is why we strongly support a private led economy, with government providing social protection for extremely poor and vulnerable and interventions where market works inefficiently or pervasive

“We hope that we will in due course create conducive environment which would mean tackling many problems of deficiency in infrastructure, especially power to road and rail,” he said.

He said government was tapping every possible resources in the power sector as the country moved from hydro carbon dominated power source to renewable energy sources.

He said: “We are determined to use our coal in Enugu and Kogi states and other coal belts in the country.”

“We think access to coal will also be an alternative, especially with several clean coal initiatives some of which are already tested in some parts of Kogi State,” he said

-nan

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