MSMEs can kick-start ailing economy, say Emefiele, Okowa
The role of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), in kick-starting the nation’s ailing economy, and reducing its over-dependence on oil was the major theme of a paper by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, during the weekend at Agbor, Delta State.
Emefiele, who spoke at a one-day Ika Economic and Investment Summit, argued that apart from being reliable pedestal for inclusive growth, job creation and poverty reduction, MSMEs are also a means of harnessing previously redundant and untapped human and material resources.
Emefiele, who spoke on Saturday, at the summit organised by Ika Village Square, a non-governmental organisation, in Agbor, Ika South Local Council, noted that MSMEs are the backbone of several developed and developing economies like Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America, and China.
He decried that the over 37 million MSMEs operating in Nigeria, have failed to live up to their real potential.
He said: “As many of you already know, oil accounts for over 85 per cent of the revenue of government and over 95 per cent of foreign exchange flows. That is why shock to the oil sector ripples almost uncontrollably through the fabric of the Nigerian economy. Also quite disturbing is the habit of importing even those things we can easily produce.
Our taste for imported goods has not only entrenched poverty, it has weakened our productive capacity by withering the skills of unutilised labour.”
Still emphasising the need to boost MSMEs, he added that such enterprises provide opportunities for increased participation of women in the productive process, hence the need for genuine support by stakeholders if the nation’s economy must be bolstered.
Similarly, the Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, argued that investing in MSMEs is the fastest way for Nigeria’s economic growth, adding that it will ensure speedy technological development of the country.
Okowa added: “As it concerns MSMEs, we have done a lot to encourage our people to be entrepreneurs but, a lot more needs to be done; a lot of our people are not knowledgeable enough and as such, they make a lot of mistakes. We are not only training our people to acquire skills as a government, but we are training our youths, equipping them to function on their own, monitor and mentor them to succeed as entrepreneurs, because education backed with skills is the way to go for our country.”
According to him, it is important for the people to go into farming, as so many job opportunities abound through the agriculture value chain.
The governor declared: “One of the ways to have an inclusive growth in our nation is agricultural production and its value chain; I am encouraging our politicians to go into farming. There are lots of benefits in farming, it is a great employer of labour; even in the area of palm oil production, and we have not been able to produce enough palm oil to meet with the need of Nigerians not to talk of export.”
For Dr. Kingsley Emu, the Chairman of the Organising Committee, the Economic and Investment Summit, which theme was: “Exploiting the Economic Potential of Ika Nation through Strategic Partnerships,” was organised to address economic issues facing the Ika ethnic nationality, and a bold declaration of the people’s resolve to succeed.