By Dipo Olowookere
Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Mr Dikko Radda, has disclosed that there are about 37.1 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the country.
Mr Radda made this disclosure at the India-Nigeria Cultural Conference organised by the All India Universities Alumni Association, Abuja Chapter, themed ‘Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in combating unemployment in Nigeria: India experience.’
The SMEDAN chief said the MSMEs sector contributes about 47.8 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“There are presently about 37.1 million MSMEs in Nigeria. That is huge.
“Their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is about 48.7 percent, while their contribution to export is about 7.2 percent.
“That is to tell you how significant they are to our economy,” Mr Radda stated at the conference.
However, he said despite these facts, there were several challenges killing small businesses in the country.
According to him, one of the major issues is multiple taxation in the country.
He said this was depleting the profit of small businesses, leaving them to struggle to break-even and sometimes, push them out of business.
“The challenges confronting the MSMEs are actually the same globally.
“But because of our peculiarities in Nigeria, we have some major ones.
“One of them is multiple taxation and multiple levies. We have taxes from the local governments, the state and also the Federal Government,” he said.
However, Mr Radda said Federal Government was working hard to address this issue so as to make the business environment in the country profitable for investors in the sector.
“I know this administration is working tirelessly to address this issue,” he said.
Apart from multiple taxation, the SMEDAN boss, who was represented at the event by the agency’s Director of Strategic Partnership, Dr Friday Okpara, said small business owners in the Africa’s largest market were not globally competitive.
He challenged them to position their businesses for a global market by producing quality goods.
Speaking further, Mr Radda said access to funds was affecting the industry as well as electricity, which he said raises the cost of production.
“Another challenge is inadequate access to funds, manpower, market and technology.
“In India, the major challenge is access to the international market.
“But our MSMEs in Nigeria are not globally competitive.
“Here in Nigeria, lack of power is a major problem and it increases the cost of production,” he disclosed at the event.
He expressed optimism that things will get better very soon especially with the various policies being put in place by government.
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