The Lagos State Chapter of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) on Thursday August 2 held a business roundtable on the theme: “Building a Globally Competitive Economy through MSMEs” and issued a communiqué at the end of deliberations.
The communiqué contained some recommendations as possible solutions to the major challenges facing the sector and way forward in repositioning MSMEs in Nigeria to achieve global competitiveness. It touched on practically all sectors including the general public, referring viable ways to support and ensure that MSMEs continue to serve as bulwarks to the economy. The communiqué is reproduced here below.
Promoters of MSMEs must continue to engage in strategic thinking and idea generation for continued creativity and innovation in their product development, quality maintenance and branding.
Government must apply positive indicators at achieving the economic diversification and stability favorable to the promotion and management of MSMEs in Nigeria.
The Nigerian public must develop confidence and patronize locally produced goods to encourage promoters of MSMEs and enhance economic growth and development.
Government should set aside special funds for the development of MSMEs and create proper awareness regarding it.
Tertiary and higher educational institutions should align their curriculum to the structure and development of MSMEs so as to imbibe the MSMEs’ learning culture to our young graduates and make them fit and suitable for gainful employment opportunities.
Adequate research funds should be made available to generate appropriate data for the use of MSME promoters and ensure research process is aligned to specific needs and local demands of MSMEs.
Restructuring of the banking and finance institutions to specifically cater for the MSMEs funding needs
Full and strict implementation of the law on the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment recently signed by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Oshinbajo
Immediate construction of access roads leading in and out of Tin-Can Port together with other roads to major markets and commercial centres within the country.
Gradual and systematic reduction of multiple taxation which has become a bane to competitiveness of MSMEs Nigeria.
Urgent resuscitation of policy requiring SMEDAN to generate data on MSMEs every three years.
Tax policies system and process should factor in Targeted Tax breaks and targeted subsidies aimed at specific businesses and the provision of requisite infrastructure needed for MSMEs to thrive and be globally competitive.
Recognizing the need of MSMEs for unfettered access to capital markets, government at all levels should develop and immediately implement active policies towards providing entrepreneurs with adequate capital through loans with modest interest rates and reasonable repayment periods
MSMEs promoters are implored to explore renewable energies like wind, bio mass (waste, wood), geothermal heat, tidal waves etc. for their energy needs.
Business owners are advised to separate personal account or expenses from that of the business, pay themselves appropriate salaries and avoid dipping hands into the company’s accounts
Render the necessary statutory remittances to government and prepare financial accounts annually that would be readily available when so needed
As observed from the concept of MSME competitiveness Grid, it was recommended that Government should enhance the creation of a favorable Business Environment by:
- Supporting and advising MSMEs in legal, management and information issues
- Enhancing performance of the MSME loan guarantee funds, Development Bank of Nigeria, and venture capital funds
- Improving ICT infrastructure and supporting MSMEs in applying and developing appropriate technology
- Promoting the role of Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations, and SME forums and the Academy to enable MSMEs participate in global value chains
Government and its requisite agencies must make concerted efforts in enhancing the competitiveness of MSMEs by:
- Conducting periodic censuses in order to gather data on MSMES in Nigeria
- Building programs to enhance corporate governance capacity, especially in business strategy, management and human resource development.
- Enhancing more IT applications in operations and supply chain management;
- Increasing access to finance for MSMES (including provision of knowledge of finance and banking services for MSMES).
- Promoting R & D and enhancing opportunities for cooperation between enterprises in different fields to improve creativity and innovation
- Supporting staff training for MSMEs to develop skills in digital technology, risk management, and foster innovation
- Raising awareness of, and supporting research capabilities and applying, advanced Science and Technology to enhance innovation and creativity of MSMEs
- Training export oriented MSMEs to drive export of our agricultural produce and minerals by taking them through the rudiments of exportation.
Strengthening cooperation and connection between MSMEs and other businesses and promoting PPP by:
- Facilitating technological cooperation
- Developing business portals; and connections among universities research centers-industry-associations (LCCI, NACIMMA etc). Close collaboration between MSMEs and our Universities/Research Institutions must be encouraged
- Promoting cooperative networks between MSMEs and investors, research centers and universities, etc
- Strengthening public – private partnership (PPP)
- Implementing measures to promote connectivity in institutions, infrastructure and workforce.
- Considering the knowledge based economy of the 21st century business operating environment when information has become an asset and can be a source of competitive advantage, business owners are advised to engage in continuous learning, unlearning and relearning. Participate in job related learning programmes, read business related newspapers, books on business/ entrepreneurship etc. so as to stay abreast of happenings in the economy, industry and globally
- Leveraging on contemporary information technology it was advised that businesses should be taken online- Create your own website, open a social media account. Create a twitter, Instagram account and become visible. Display your product/service offerings for the world to see
- Opportunities to showcase well packaged and branded products and services are therefore available, one can lower costs , improve margins and boost operational efficiency using Unified Communications like Skype, Outlook 365 which have as their features instant messaging, voice calls. With the aforementioned, MSMEs’ employees do not have to be in the office to perform their duties. They can access the system from anywhere with internet connection
- Business promoters and owners should understand the business tax income policies as they affect individual businesses at various levels of government, Federal, State and Local Government, etc. and seek clarification with a view to sorting them out appropriately so as to avoid any form of embarrassment from government tax agencies
- Export oriented MSMEs should familiarize themselves with the various export incentives so as to take the full advantage including government funding, grants, such as the SMEDAN MSMEs Development Programs, Bank of Industry, The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, etc.
Building a Globally Competitive economy requires a focused and practical approach. It also requires that active and sincere participation of all stakeholders particularly government, requisite agencies and the MSME sector. Government must provide the right policies, upgrade and improve upon our infrastructure and also provide adequate funding needed to have a conducive environment for entrepreneurship and private enterprise to thrive. Economic growth suffers when entrepreneurial activity is unevenly spread socio-economically, demographically, and geographically. Government agencies and institutions must also be transparent, patriotic and professional in the course of discharging their duties. Nigerian businesses must also wake up and begin to think creatively, become problem solvers and risk takers. They must also ensure to pursue the highest standards because the aforementioned lead to innovation and competitiveness. For Nigeria to be globally competitive, the sum of our MSMEs must be even more competitive.
Source: NASME LAGOS