The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called on the Federal Government to adopt the global best practice of funding Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
President of the Chamber Mr Adetokunbo Kayode made the call in Abuja during a strategic partnership building meeting with Dr Dikko Radda, the Director-General, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
Kayode called for a targeted funding mechanism for SMEs to boost the country’s economy, saying that the country needed institutions whose focus would be principally on SMEs.
He said: “I have been expressing my concern at the way and manner our SMEs are funded, which is normally through the commercial banks and other intervention funds domiciled in different institutions.’
“The mechanism for funding for SMEs is tedious; the strategy of government is good; the intent to fund is there, but how do we get the money to those that need it?”
Kayode said that institutions such as the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture were not structured to provide long-term funding.
According to him, the country needs institutions that will focus principally on SMEs.
He said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the chamber and SMEDAN would serve as a modest effort at developing the Nigerian economy just as public private partnership would open up many opportunities for the country and those who would operate under the mandate of the agency.
He urged the agency to enrol the chamber as one of its Business Membership Organisation (BMO), saying: “There is need to adopt ACCI as talent incubation hub; go into partnership with us in the area of capacity building as well as skill acquisition.’’
In his remarks, the director-general of SMEDAN, identified funding and capacity building as the major challenges before SMEs in the country.
Radda said: “We need to do so much in the area of capacity building. This collaboration is a good start for SMEs in the country,’’ he said.
He said that the country needed to come up with strategies to assist SMEs given that 98 per cent of them are micro businesses.