By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Organised Private Sector on Thursday described the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as a true friend of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
The group, which spoke at the inauguration of the Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus Schemes to support MSMEs and Nigerians, said that Buhari had demonstrated true friendship with his policies.
Mr Okonkwo Obadigbo, a member of the private sector who spoke at the event, said that since 2015, the policies of the current administration had been favourable to MSMEs in spite of security and infrastructure challenges.
“A true friend is that person who has your back when times are good and when times are tough.
“In my humble opinion, this Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Buhari, since 2015 has been a good friend of MSMEs.
“Notwithstanding the challenges of insecurity and infrastructure, MSMEs have benefitted from many policies implemented by the Federal Government.
“The Secured Transactions and Moveable Assets Act of 2017, established a national collateral registry which has eased the requirement from MSMEs in assessing bank credits.
“The Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have executed several programmes and intervention funds for MSMEs in Nigeria.
“The Finance Act of 2019 reviews the taxation of MSMEs,” he said.
He noted that within the period, Nigeria moved from 169 to 38 in the global ranking for ease of doing business, noting that it was an attestation to the good policies.
He pointed out, however, that times were now really tough for MSMEs both in Nigeria and abroad, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the collapse in crude prices and reduction in oil revenue had also affected the economy, noting that the new schemes of the government were indeed timely.
“This survival fund is a timely intervention to relieve MSMEs in Nigeria and the organised private sector welcomes it.
“It is indeed a good stimulus package,” he said.
Obadigbo called on states to emulate the Federal Government, noting that MSMEs also relied on states for survival as state policies also affected them.
He decried the situation where many MSMEs had died in states due to policies and unfair tax regimes by governors in the quest for Internally Generated Revenues.
“I appeal to these state governments to support the MSMEs and follow the footsteps of the Federal Government,” he said.
He also called on banks to be fair in the dealings with small businesses, pointing out that MSMEs had always complained that access to bank credits was their number one problem.
He further commended the government for the schemes, stressing that the private sector now awaited the commencement of disbursement of the funds.