Chamber seeks review of conditions for accessing N220b SMEs fund

Photo; muscatdaily

Photo; muscatdaily

TO ensure steady economic growth, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ABUCCI) has called on the federal government to urgently review the conditions attached in accessing the N220billion Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) fund domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).

The call is contained in statement signed by the Chamber’s

(Media) Jude Igwe, to felicitate with the President Muhammadu Buhari -led administration and also to lend its voice on some critical areas of concern which the new government has to tackle fast.

The chamber said, issues concerning SMEs were very critical as they represent roughly 85 percent of Nigeria economy and the sector had been globally acknowledged as the engine of growth of any economy.

The group regretted that the fund remained largely undisbursed to beneficiaries due to the harsh conditions attached to collecting the funds.

The statement further reads, ‘’we urge the new administration to urgently intervene and review these conditions and come up with terms that would make it easy for the SMEs to access the fund and produce the necessary growth in the economy which is the target for setting up the fund.

The well being of SMEs is so critical in any economy that desires growth, generation of employment and production of consumer goods that it should not be ignored for a moment.

Government should therefore endeavour to provide the enabling environment for SMEs to thrive and this should include right fiscal policies such as provision of funds and elimination of multiple taxation and provision of the necessary infrastructure’’.

As the major voice of the private sector in the Federal Capital Territory(FCT),the chamber also lamented the acute shortage of power in Nigeria, one very important area that affects and puts unbearable pressure on all other aspects of the economy including the demands on the petroleum sector.

Igwe insisted that the issue of provision of adequate power for the country must be urgently addressed so as to bring back to life a lot of industrial and manufacturing industries that have gone comatose as a result of unsustainable costs of running their operations on generators.

He added that the consequences of lack of electricity include; low productivity, retrenchment, embargo on employment, lack of locally produced consumer goods and pressure to import finished goods to sustain local demands and general down turn in the economy.

He said it was imperative for indigenous industries to survive so that the much desired creation of jobs by the government can be achieved.

The chamber further stressed:‘’In the light of the privatization that has been done already by the immediate past government which has not moved the power situation any inch up, the new administration must do an urgent review with the stakeholders where they would be honest enough to tell the administration the real factors that have made it impossible for them to provide power to Nigerians so that a quick fix solution shall be explored to arrest a total collapse of the entire economy.’’

Citing the petroleum sector as another critical issue that need to be tackled urgently, the chamber called for total deregulation of the sector as the only way of ensuring stability in the oil sector.

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