Utomi, Elumelu task government on growth of SMEs
A professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi, yesterday said weak institutions had posed a clog in the wheel of the nation’s economic progress, urging government to adopt holistic measures to overcome the challenge.
To the founder of Heirs Holdings Tony Elumelu, there was need for coordinated efforts to stimulate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for inclusive development of the country
The experts, who spoke yesterday at the 24th yearly LAPO Development Forum in Lagos, stressed the need for government to prioritise the ease of doing business, create institutional support for SMEs as well as create jobs opportunities for the youths.
According to Utomi, government needs to strengthen institutions and regulatory authorities to make businesses thrive and seamless. He noted that this would give a major push to export of SME goods continentally.
“SMEs are where most people work. One of the most challenging conversations that we have about economic growth, job creation and all of that is that we are looking for foreign investors, we are looking for big cooperation to come and set up, but what most people want are SMEs.
“If you think about it, the oil industry directly employs less than 10 Nigerians but where most people work in companies that employ just more than 10 people and less than 100. So, it is important to take this sector seriously.”
Elumelu identified SMEs as having a huge potential and the capability to create millions of jobs if government addresses some critical challenges such as inadequate funding, policy inconsistencies among others.
Stressing the need to prioritise the sector, Elumelu, who was represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Group, Adim Jibunoh, noted that the country desperately needs a mechanism for job creation to address inclusiveness and sustainable development.
“SMEs are the engine of growth. When they succeed, they recruit, they train people and when the likes of GE come on board, they have a ready ecosystem and pipeline of supply chain players that support what they are doing. To get it right, we need to continue to prioritise our SMEs and improve the environment for thems to succeed,” he stated.
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