The President of the Association of Small Businesses in Nigeria (ASBON), Dr. Olufemi Egbesola, has said the Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) sector will generate over N800 billion into the Nigerian economy, if properly harnessed.
Egbesola who spoke in Lagos, said “If SMEs with the help of ASBON and the government and other relevant agencies is well nurtured, the sector will generate over N800 billion annually, with tax and levies of upward N60 billion to the government as well as contribute between 21-25 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generate enormous employment opportunities and provide stable source of revenue to the government for financing of socioeconomic programmes.”
“The sure bet for preparing for the post-petroleum economy is by growing the small business sector, which is why small business should be given all the needed support so it can occupy a prominent place in the nation’s post-petroleum economy as oil has pushed Nigeria to a mono-product economy over the years,” he said.
Egbesola also stated that small business owners across the country form 17.3 million with a total employment in the sector put at 32 million, contributing about 45 per cent to the GDP, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
He added that the leading industrialised world have shown how small businesses have led their economies, citing the example of the Chinese economic miracle, which was led by an army of about 50 million small businesses creating about 500 million jobs between 1980 and 2012.
He further said Nigeria would require a deliberate empowerment of an army of small businesses, stating that all government across the federation should come up with small business promotion and incentive-based policies for SMEs.
Egbesola also mentioned that ASBON in its four months of existence has its membership spread over 12 states of the federation numbering in thousands with affiliations in London and the United States of America, adding that ASBON has imparted positively on many small businesses by helping them address some of the challenges and organising workshops and symposia.
He therefore appealed to the government to help ease off some of the challenges which includes irregular power supply, poor infrastructural facilities, lack of patronage of locally produced goods, competition with cheaper imported products, fuel crisis and shortages and multiple taxes and levies.
Egbesola however said ASBON recommends SMEs partnerships and equity participation by financiers, loan guarantees, interest rate concession, fiscal incentives and adequate training for SMEs, as the factors that will drive the rapid transformation and development of the SME sector in Nigeria.
The President seized the opportunity to invite the public to the official unveiling of ASBON which will be held on November 14 at Eko FM, Lagos Television, Ikeja. He said the Association will be unveiled by the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Other dignitaries that would be present at the unveiling include Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Ms Evelyn Oputu, MD/CEO Bank of Industry, and the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Dr. Joseph Odumodu.