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Experts on Monday highlighted the need for key policy recommendations for the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to focus on financing, capacity building and structural areas.
They gave the advice at a webinar organized by the Small and Medium Enterprise Group (SMEG) of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The theme of the event was: “Giving SMEs Growth in a Tough Economy,” The Tide’s source said.
Mr. Yomi Olugbenro, the West African Head of Taxation, stressed that these key areas will increase the contributions of MSMEs to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and boost the stability and growth of the economy.
Olugbenro said that a reliable financial system enabled by technology is critical to the financing and operation of efficient settlement systems for the survival of small and medium enterprises in the near future.
He noted that despite various global economic downturns, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are expected to survive if structural development is ensured over time.
On structure, Olugbenro stressed the need to partner with business advisors to provide SMEs with technical support and access to markets.
He also called for infrastructure-based policies that include efficient distribution of power to various industrial clusters.
“We also need to increase the capacity of entrepreneurs by providing capacity building support services aimed at acquiring relevant skills.
“In order to fall in love with entrepreneurship early and to improve entrepreneurship education in state institutions, national education standards should be updated.
“The SME loan portfolio should also be diversified according to gender and sector agnostic strategy,” he said.
In his contribution, the Director of the Center for Enterprise Development, Dr Peter Bamkole, revealed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, a national survey revealed that 93 per cent of SMEs faced a number of challenges that led to the closure and downsizing of some businesses.
However, he noted that the thriving seven percent are businesses that are digitally enabled in their operations, from raw material procurement to after-sales services.
He emphasized that from now on, SMEs should collaborate more among themselves and reinvent their business models with more efficient, innovative and creative operations for profitability.
“A significant number of people working in the service sector should think about renewable energy to reduce the cost of production.
“SMEs need to add more value to their goods and services before export, engage with SMEs across the continent to optimize the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” he said.
LCCI President, Dr Michael Olavel-Cole said the latest conversations around the role, challenges and development opportunities of MSMEs highlight their importance as engines for the growth of any economy.
Olawale-Cole, represented by LCCI Director General Dr Chinyere Almona, noted that United Nations statistics show that MSMEs account for 90 per cent of business, 65 per cent of employment and 50 per cent of GDP worldwide.
However, he said SMEs need support now more than ever as they struggle with the effects of the COVID pandemic, insecurity, supply chain disruptions and the climate crisis.

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