By Our Reporter
Lagos State Government has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to partner it (the state government) in its bid to achieve industrialisation through Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The Head of Service (HoS), Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said the government is creating an enabling environment for SMEs to grow by deploying expertise, technology and financial resources to support entrepreneurship.
He spoke at the weekend during the 31st anniversary reunion meeting of the Pioneer 1988 Class of the Lagos State University (LASU), held in Lagos.
The HoS, who spoke through the Permanent Secretary, Office of Establishments and Training, Mr. Abiodun Bamgboye, said the nation needed business enterprises that would contribute meaningfully to the growth of the economy if it must meet the needs of the people.
He said this explained why the government has been supporting SMEs through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
Muri-Okunola said the government would come up with policies and programmes that would encourage SMEs.
This is to ensure that more people are job creators and employers of labour.
He said the government is raising agro-entrepreneurs to boost the economy through its schemes.
The Director, Development Finance Department, CBN, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan, said lack of capital was hindering the development of start-ups.
Speaking through the Deputy Director, Development Finance Office, CBN, Adedeji Adebisi, Olaitan emphasised the need to increase credit culture to boost SMEs growth.
He said in Nigeria, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( MSMEs) are the engine for economic growth and industrial development, adding that of over 41.5 million MSMEs, 99.8 per cent are micro enterprises.
Olaitan said MSMEs employ 96.3 per cent of the national workforce as well as contribute 49.78 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
According to him, the total credit required to fully finance these SMEs is over $2 trillion equivalent to 14 per cent of total developing economies gross domestic product (GDP).
In view of the peculiar challenges SMEs face in accessing financial services in Nigeria, he said the CBN has established the N220billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), Agric Credit Guarantee Scheme, Anchor Borrowers Programme and financial inclusion programmes.
He restated the banks commitment to reducing poverty by increasing their access to credit facilities so as to enable them participate in economic development of the country.
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He urged financial institutions to focus on creating business knowledge and managerial capacity among SMEs.
The chairman of the occasion, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, said the performance of education sector was very unimpressive, as capacities to promote services through the sector were poor.
He said the performance of the educational system has dented the reputation of the country, adding that the sector requires very high commitment to the cause.
He noted that inequality within the public school system is also immense, adding that so far governments have not been able to change matters much.
For many Nigerians, he observed that the costs of higher education are an obstacle they cannot overcome.
According to him, the sector needs an enabling environment for both private and public institutions to meet internationally accepted standards.
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