‘Small, medium scale enterprise must drive Nigeria’s economy’
Nigerian-America Chamber of Commerce Small Medium Enterprises Conference, tagged, ‘Financing Non-Oil Export Business and Franchises’ in Abuja, held in collaboration with Embassy of the United States of America Economic Affairs Section.
According to Young, SMEs are the businesses that would carry Nigeria into its new economy just like the United States.
He said with the current rate of youth employment of 24 per cent, large corporations would only absorb a small fraction of the new job seekers, adding that SMEs would provide the best opportunity for creating productive jobs for those young people.
The envoy stressed the need for the new economy to embrace its role as a vibrant part of the global trade and investment market, rather than try to continue with protections that have not been able to grow Nigerian industry.
He said, “allowing markets to set prices for things like foreign currency, energy, and agriculture, rather than using scarce government resources to try to control those markets, must be a fundamental component of the new Nigerian economy.”
The chairman of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Kaduna State, Sherif Balogun, in his opening remarks, advised the Federal Government to consider borrowing to finance public investment in roads, healthcare, education, airports, seaport with a long-term repayment plan of single digit interest rate.
He pointed out that these are some of the pragmatic measures taken by developed countries to reflate their economies. He added that it would further create activity in the private sector resulting in massive job creation, reduction in crime rate and security expenditure, including massive positive gains across board.
Pointing at the N550billion Export Stimulation Fund domiciled in the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, NEXIM Bank among others, Balogun stressed the need to remove the bureaucracy slowing down or even hampering access to the funds.
Earlier in his welcome address, the National President of the Nigeria-American Chanber of Commerce, Olabintan Famutimi noted that due to the slump in global oil price, there was the need for the diversification of the economy into the non-oil sector.
He said that the aim of the conference was to engage with government through public private partnerships, attract foreign direct investment through strategic long-term thinking and restore confidence in the monetary system, that is efficiently managing the flexible exchange rate regime, interest rates, full unbundling of uneconomic tariffs that scare investments.
He noted that the three day conference would seek to encourage investment in the non-oil sectors of the economy, adding that presentations from State Governors, promoters and industry leaders would further project the need to invest more in the largely untapped and underdeveloped non-oil sectors of the economy.