Amidst numerous problems con- fronting the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria, stake- holders at BusinessDay SME summit held in Abuja said creating the right market access for operators in this seg- ment is key to addressing the growth gap in the sector.
Nigeria classifies businesses with an annual turnover of N500 million and less as MSMEs.
The country has 37.67 million MSMEs, according to the 2013 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report.
The sector impacts 95 per- cent of businesses in the coun- try and creates 75 percent of national employment.
Challenges such as finance, skills, infrastructure and market access have dogged this segment of the economy over the years.
Wale Fasanya, representa- tive of the director-general of the Small and Medium Enter- prise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), said the agency has been engaging on match-making programmes to form links with various MSME operators in the country.
“The agency has been work- ing with the United Nations International Development Organisation (UNIDO) in upgrading capacity to ensure proper business support for the operators in the country. We would also ensure, through UNIDO collaboration, that they have a global outlook through international exhibi- tions,” Fasanya said.
Rabiu Tata, head of busi- ness desk at the Union Bank, in his submission, pointed out certain steps that could improve market access to the MSME sector, one of which was designing a technical platform on funding that matches businesses.
“The second approach is on accessing intervention from dependable agencies like CBN, BoI and other nec- essary interventions. Where they don’t have collateral, we provide them with the needed guarantee,” Tata said.
“The other collaboration is on networking to get international collaborations and the needed grants to support their businesses. We look at the way they structure their business plans in terms of best case scenario and worse case scenario, as well as com- petition analysis, to match the kind of business they are going into,” he added.
Rabiu suggested to the Federal government that “all stakeholders operating in the MSME sector should interface more and evaluate efforts in order to boost market access.”
Dike Prince Humphery of the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Federal Capital Ter- ritory (FCT) chapter, urged the Federal Government to educate real sector opera- tors accordingly to avoid poor standardisation of their products.