A report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has revealed that micro businesses in the country increased by 12 per cent, to a total of 41,543,028.
They disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, during the unveiling of the National survey of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) 2017 report.
The Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, Mr. Yemi Kale, while applauding the increase, urged the federal government to continue supporting MSMEs, as a viable way of reducing unemployment in Nigeria.
Speaking after unveiling the report, he said: “Well, I mentioned in my report that micro businesses have increased by about 12 per cent. Small businesses also increased by about four per cent, but medium scale enterprises dropped significantly by about 60 per cent, and I attributed that to economic recession that spanned through 2017.
“When there is economic recession, businesses struggle, and the bigger you are the more you struggle because capital and cost are higher, and the staffs you have are higher.”
He further added: “But as you can see, both in terms of employment, total number MSMEs, especially micro, there was an increase. In terms of assets size, there was a slight decrease in the assets size of the businesses operating in that space and as I said, it could be as a result of the recession.
“So it is difficult, and I think we need a normal year, maybe by the next time we update this study, to see a clear picture. Because I believe the recession will distort the findings of how the sector has performed.”
He also said based on the findings, Lagos, Oyo, and Osun were the top three states in terms of micro, small, medium scale enterprises in Nigeria.
Kale added: “There is a need to pay a lot more attention to these micro businesses because they have the largest share of employment, they contribute a huge chunk of gross domestic product, and they probably have the greatest possibilities to create more jobs. “So, the government needs to pay as much attention if not more, to them and also, it may be difficult to lump 41 million of them together. So, we need to create more levels so they can be better targeted.
“Reduction in registration fees have helped, but we have to also focus on some other challenges they face and create policies to tackle them, and that is exactly what data is for.
“It helps you know exactly what MSME challenges are in different areas, and as a government, we create policies to tackle it.”
On his part, the Director General, SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda said the report indicated that there was a huge contribution by the MSMEs to the GDP.
“Though the increase was negligible, I think it is worthy of mentioning, because it has increased to 7.68 percent,” he added.
Speaking on the challenges MSMEs face, he said finance was still a major factor as he stressed the need for review on how MSMEs could access loans.
“You know from the survey; finance has remained the major challenge of the micro-enterprises. Then followed by capacity building, which is more about the capacity of the MSME’s. And “I think, as regards to the finance, the government is doing a lot of things to ensure they are addressed. And I think the interventions from the CBN are equally helping to reduce the challenge,” he added.