The President, Nigeria America Chamber of Commerce (NACC) Oluwatoyin Komolafe, has said that the creation, growth, advancement as well as development of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have proved essential to the growth and development of the economies of many countries; particularly the developed and some developing nations like United States of America, China and India.
Komolafe disclosed this at a breakfast meeting organised by NACC tagged” Setting new standards in sustainable SME sector development in Nigeria”,
He pointed out that the advantages of SMEs to any country are definitely obvious, which he said includes, contribution to the economy in terms of: increase in output of goods and services; generation of jobs, particularly in the rapidly growing service sector; offering a medium for shrinking disparities in income; and developing a collection of skilled and semi-skilled workforce as a foundation for imminent industrial expansion.
“Others include enhancing forward and backward linkages between economically, socially and geographically different segments of the economy while also providing an outstanding foundational ground for entrepreneurial and managerial ability,” he said.
According to him, SMEs go through great level of tests, difficulties, challenges, failures and subsequent collapse, because of inadequacy of infrastructure and indeed an enabling environment to grow, which he said has hindered their transformation into large scale business enterprises.
He stressed that the most worrisome amongst these challenges are the non-availability of funds, maintaining that most SMEs operate in a manner that inhibits them from accessing funds from most financial institutions that see them as high risk ventures.
He highlighted some of the limiting factors to include poor planning and management, lack of a proper structure, low capacity building utilization among others.
“As a Chamber we have been working with SMEs in building their capacity via various human capital development initiatives, provision of linkages to possible funders and also access to market. It is expected that the outcome of this meeting will go a long way in ensuring a turnaround of Nigeria’s SME sector with a set of recommendations for various stakeholders for implementation,” he said.
Also, the Director General, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria, (SMEDAN), Dikko Radda, said for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to be competitive, they must adhere to global best practices.
According to the SMEDAN boss, “ISO standards can also help small businesses increase their efficiency by helping to drive down costs and save valuable time and money. MSMEs can benefit from the expert knowledge contained in standards and are less likely to make costly mistakes that could spell the difference between success and failure.”
He stated that the competitiveness of MSMEs to compete in domestic and global markets is a key determinant for growth and job creation, but stressed that the main obstacle faced by MSMEs in international trade are linked to compliance to different regulations and standards applied to products and services.
He said in order to ensure a seamless development of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises sub-sector in Nigeria, all the challenges confronting the sub sector must be deliberately and conscientiously addressed.
Radda said the theme of the event is apt especially now that the current administration is deliberately addressing all contemporary development issues in the MSMEs sub-sector towards energising the sub-sector for job creation, wealth creation and poverty alleviation.
The SMEDAN boss said products that comply to international standards have a competitive edge over products that are not of standards, saying that consumers already know the difference.
He noted that quality products have much more credibility which builds a long-lasting positive reputation which proves vital when moving into international markets