Financial and business development experts have pointed out the critical role of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, in economic growth and development especially in the area of employment generation.
But they are of the opinion that these potentials cannot be realized unless governments at all levels give the supports necessary to develop the SMEs.
Speaking at a recent workshop in Lagos, to mentor small businesses and start-ups, the Managing Consultant, Midridge, Abiola Adeniran, said most economies of the world have been able to transform their economies giving serious attention to the growth of small businesses.
She said the reason Nigeria is faced with rising unemployment is that most SMEs are not developed to hire other people, hence, the need to ensure an increase in the capacity development of small businesses.
Adeniran maintained that if the government would back SMEs to develop initiatives that will promote the growth of the sector in Nigeria, it would have a ripple effect in helping it address its numerous economic problems.
Her words: “The economic advancement and growth we anticipate for Nigeria can actually be driven by SMEs because if you look at other countries of the world you will realize that they are driven by small scale businesses, which now brings the question of, what is the capacity of those running these businesses?
“It is important to build the capacity of business owners because if they are doing well and are able to grow and scale-up, they will be able to take in more people.
“With this, most people who are unemployed can actually be hired by small businesses that are gaining enough profit to pay salaries. If we develop small businesses in Nigeria, you will see that a lot will be able to take most of our unemployed youths off the street, and pay them attractive salaries.”
On how to make loans readily available to small businesses, she said: “The money is available but a lot of businesses can’t access it because they have not been able to demonstrate their stewardship.
“Hence, they need to improve the level of their financial literacy as it impacts on how much they are able to grow their businesses. Opportunities abound, and all you need is to be well-positioned to leverage and take advantage of these opportunities.”
In her lecture, “Tax Compliance and Planning for SMEs in Nigeria,” Manager, Tax, Regulatory and People Services at KPMG, Udochukwu Akalezi, said it was vital for SMEs to speak to professionals to help them leverage the tax laws by determining the tax incentive available to them.
In his remarks, the Commercial Director, Leadway Assurance, Gboyega Lesi, said the partnership was one of the many ways the company was supporting SMEs in the country.
“Over the years, Leadway Assurance has continued to support entrepreneurs to reap the transformation benefits of SME participation in the country. We know it’s a great way of immensely contributing to the growth and development of the economy,” he said.