Why Small Businesses Must be Given Attention In Nigeria - Femi Adekoya

According to Femi Adekoya

WITH donor agencies shifting their interests in development cooperation towards private sector development, Chairman of African Centre for Business Development Strategy and Innovation, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa has advocated increased collaboration between the public and private sector in driving growth in the SMEs’ sector. 

  He expressed concerns about the development in the sector, stating that issues of infrastructural inadequacy, weak funding and unaffordable financing, low entrepreneurial capacity, corruption, cheap foreign-made goods that choke locally made goods out of the market, coupled with a barrage of policies that appear insensitive to the existence of these challenges, all combine to mitigate against meaningful progress in this sector in Nigeria.
  Though the frequency of policy somersaults in Nigeria has waned in the last four years due to more attention being paid to the yearnings of the private sector by the government, he sought increased attention and intervention for small businesses.
   Speaking ahead of the proposed National Summit on Entrepreneurship and Innovation NSEI scheduled to hold in Lagos between the 20th - 21st of November 2014, with the theme “Entrepreneurship, Job Creation and Poverty Reduction, Ohuabunwa noted that there was an urgent need to conscientiously transform the structure of Nigeria’s economy by propelling positive industrial trends through growth in the small and medium scale industrial group and eventually in the large scale manufacturing sector.
    “In the last five years there has been a higher level of consistency in policy sustainability. Government is coming to understand that for people to bring in investments they require a lot of stability,” he said.
   However, Ohuabunwa pointed out that Nigeria has not reached the best point of policy stability yet but that significant progress was being recorded; stressing that meaningful economic development was only possible through strategic partnership among key stakeholders, between the government, well-meaning private sector organisations and individuals, especially innovative service providers.
   “Global development is entering a phase where entrepreneurship will increasingly play a more important role. An analysis of sources economic growth by World Bank finds that the biggest differences between developed and developing economies are in innovation performances. It emphasises that they have become increasingly important for addressing challenges of inclusion and sustainability,” he said.
   He explained that the summit will bring together policy makers, financial intermediaries, industry leaders, business promoters, business researchers, professional and budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria and the West African sub region to network and share ideas, question paradigms, challenge status quo and generate creative solutions to contemporary issues.
   “The key objective of NSEI is to stimulate and facilitate growth and successes in the MSME sector, the summit will also help to bridge the gap between policy makers and investors on the one part and between entrepreneurial aspirations and market opportunities on the other part,” he said.
   Expected at the summit are Aliko Dangote, who will serve as the summit’s chairman; Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chairman Globacom, Mike Adenuga; Minister of Agriculture, Dr
Akinwumi Adesina, Chairman, UBA Group, Tony Elumelu and a host of other key players in the public and organized private sector.