Firm decries N3.5b debt owed SMEs by three tiers of govt

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President, Region Africa Robert Bosch, Markus Thill (left); member, Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH, Uwe Rasachke and General Manager, Robert Bosch Nigeria, Ghislain Noumbessy, during the opening ceremony of Bosch Nigeria office in Lagos… yesterday. PHOTO: ADENIRAN AYODELE

A BUSINESS consulting firm, CTP International, yesterday condemned the N3.5 billion debt owed Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria by various arms of government, describing the act as a wheel in the clog of progress in the efforts to create more jobs for the teeming youths of the country.

The CTP is a firm with the focus of managing SMEs across Nigeria and beyond. The Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Mr. Kachi Okezie, who disclosed this yesterday in his address to the 3rd Community Voice Policy Forum organised by the Learn and Share Network held in Abuja, said that today, “business, especially the MSMEs, are in dire straits with no incentive, no social protection, zero security, non-existent infrastructure, banks that can but won’t lend, stifling bureaucracy and red-tape, all conspiring to extinguish the sector.

And to all that, add the ugliest monster of all; the unpaid debts owned to MSMEs by government agencies and MDAs.”

Besides, in her speech, a former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr. Hajo Sanni, expressed the view that the private sector, as the primary drive of economic growth and development, has great potentials for promoting sustainability in a number of ways, stressing that Nigerian businessmen should also explore better ways of tapping the regional value chains that have emerged as a key driver of growth across Africa.

She stated: “Sustainable development is best served if the private sector positions itself to foster inclusive growth.

There is no doubt that the private sector has the potential to lift people out of poverty and income deprivation. Evidence suggests that about 90 per cent of jobs in developing countries are created by the private sector, but only about one quarter of the working-age population in developing countries is engaged in productive and decent employment.

“Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of Nigeria’s industry, have definitely contributed to job creation.

However, over 60 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria remains trapped in informal sector jobs, with little social protection or other social benefits,” She expressed delight that scores of young women and men from remote areas in Nigeria are becoming social entrepreneurs through the use of smartphones and other digital technologies, just as she argued that the development calls for a proactive strategy to engage and develop social enterprises which could address critical needs such as funding of micro social enterprises, particularly those created and run by disadvantaged youths in the country.

The former minister, who scored MDGs 80 per cent success said: “The MDGs have proven to be an important tool for building global co-ordination capacity between states and other development actors, bringing together public, private and political support for global poverty reduction and provided an effective tool for stimulating the production of new poverty-related data and additional commitments.”

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