Sur­vival of MSMES im­per­a­tive for eco­nomic re­bound POST-COVID-19, say ex­perts

Business Day (Nigeria) - - START-UP DIGEST - GBEMI FAMINU

Amid the COVID-19 pan­demic that has bat­tered the Nige­rian econ­omy, ex­perts have called on the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide ad­e­quate sup­port for op­er­a­tors of mi­cro, small and medium scale en­ter­prises (MSMES) to en­able them sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute to the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­bound post­pan­demic.

Speak­ing at a we­bi­nar of the Nige­rian Eco­nomic Sum­mit Group (NESG) pre­sum­mit themed ‘ The Pan­demic and Nige­ria MSME’S:

Im­pact, Pri­or­i­ties and Strate­gies’ Wonu Ade­tayo, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Kainos Edge Con­sult­ing Lim­ited who dou­bles a NESG board mem­ber said that the MSMES play a sig­nif­i­cant role in the coun­try’s eco­nomic sys­tem and em­ploys 71 per­cent of the coun­try’s work­force.

“With sus­tained ef­forts from the pri­vate sec­tor, ac­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion with the gov­ern­ment and the cit­i­zens, Nige­ria’s MSME ecosys­tem will be able to draw the re­quired in­vest­ments that will make them a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the na­tional in­ter­est,” Ade­tayo said.

In a panel ses­sion, Bunmi

Law­son, CEO, Edfin Mi­cro­fi­nance Bank, urged MSMES op­er­a­tors to in­cor­po­rate in­no­va­tions and adopt new strate­gies to en­able them to adopt the new nor­mal en­forced by the out­break of the pan­demic.

She added that the use of tech­nol­ogy and dig­i­tal­iza­tion is per­ti­nent in line with the new trend that en­trepreneur­s must lever­age to grow their busi­nesses.

She also urged the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide pal­lia­tives to cush­ion the im­pact of the pan­demic on busi­nesses such as tax cuts, im­proved in­fra­struc­ture, and re­duc­tion in in­ter­est rates among oth­ers.

“There is a need to en­sure the sur­vival of MSMES by ex­ploit­ing in­no­va­tive ways, there is also a need to en­cour­age MSMES to make use of on­line plat­forms to grow their busi­nesses. In­ter­est rates should also be re­duced and loans made more se­cure.” Law­son ex­plained.

Teju Abisoye, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary, La­gos State Em­ploy­ment Trust Fund, said the gov­ern­ment on its part is work­ing on rolling out var­i­ous re­cov­ery meth­ods for busi­nesses de­spite the drop in its rev­enues.

He added that the virus out­break has forced the gov­ern­ment to shift its mo­tive of gen­er­at­ing jobs to re­tain­ing jobs dur­ing the pe­riod.

“Some sec­tors were more hit than oth­ers in the course of the pan­demic, there­fore we are help­ing sec­tors such as the tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor and the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor, that has been se­ri­ously af­fected by pro­vid­ing ac­cess to af­ford­able fi­nanc­ing and re­new­ing loans for pre­vi­ous loan ben­e­fi­cia­ries,” Abisoye said.

Sim­i­larly, Umma Aboki, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary, Kaduna In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Agency, said the Kaduna gov­ern­ment is mak­ing ef­forts to en­sure the sur­vival of the MSMES through the pro­vi­sion of funds and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment among oth­ers.

“We are clus­ter­ing MSMES to get ac­cess to fi­nance, we are also pro­vid­ing mort­gage to busi­nesses, de­vel­op­ing e-com­merce ini­tia­tives and pro­vid­ing tax in­cen­tives to the hos­pi­tal­ity and agric sec­tor to help cush­ion the ef­fects of the COVID-19 pan­demic,” Aboki said.

Giv­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to the sus­tain­abil­ity of small busi­nesses, De­gun Ag­boade, pres­i­dent, Nige­ria As­so­ci­a­tion of Small and Medium En­ter­prises (NASME) noted that the sur­vival of MSMES is very im­por­tant to eco­nomic growth how­ever it re­quires in­puts from the gov­ern­ment.

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