Micro and Small entrepreneurs under the umbrella of the Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria, AMEN, have blamed the government and banks for the unfriendly business environment, which they alleged have led to the closure of some of the operations.
Speaking at a Business Forum in Lagos, President of AMEN, Prince Saviour Iche, said epileptic power supply has also contributed to crippling activities of the MSMEs, stating that while the distribution companies, DISCOs, are making billions, local enterprises are shutting down as a result of the inability to compete globally due to the poor power supply.
“We are treated as orphans when we are supposed to be every government’s pride with the kind of products we produce in this country. In the last seven years, we keep complaining about the same thing, because of the kind of government we have, it shows how un-serious they are. I spend N9, 000 daily on diesel and gas for 26days.
“The year was tough especially for entrepreneurs, the recession made things worse for us. It is not a good thing that we lose so many entrepreneurs in the course of a hard time. A lot of industries closed down, six of our members who have laboured to get their product registered, had to lay off because there was no money to continue in business. If it can affect people of that calibre who have been established with about three registered products each with NAFDAC and they decided to close down their company, it is not a good thing because of job losses.
“It is high time we have a ministry of small business that can take care of the small entrepreneurs, the same policy they are using for multinational manufacturers is the same thing they are using for micro-entrepreneurs, and there should be alternatives. Micro-entrepreneurs shouldn’t meet same funding condition with Dangote.
On funding challenges, Iche said that the Bank of Industry, BoI, conditions have not helped local manufacturers due to stringent conditions. “BoI was established to fund entrepreneurs but the reverse is the case. They demand collateral that a micro-entrepreneur does not have. The condition they give to micro entrepreneurs is the same thing they give to Dangote who can easily meet up with anything,” he said.