WE ARE UNWAVERING ON SMEs GROWTH- OGSG

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WE’RE UNWAVERING ON SMEs GROWTH- OGSG

The Ogun State government says it remains unwavering at creating enabling environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to continue to grow and fulfill their potentials.

Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela stated this at the 4th Nigeria National S.M.E Business Awards (NNSBA) 2024 themed, “Collaborative Initiatives: Strengthening Networks for SMEs”, organised by the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON) in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Represented by the Director of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Engr. Kehinde Akintomide, Sofela said the Prince Dapo Abiodun-led administration would continue to improve business ambience through access to finance, capacity building programmes and market linkages.

“ Through various initiatives, policies, and interventions, we are dedicated to creating an enabling environment that fosters the growth and prosperity of Small and Medium Enterprises. Whether through access to finance, capacity-building programs, or market linkages, we remain steadfast in our resolve to provide the necessary support for SMEs to thrive and succeed,” Sofela said.

The Commissioner stated that, in line with government’s drive to supporting small businesses on access to affordable finance, the State has made available the N2bn MSME Loan and Grant as well as the Ogun State Agricultural and Multipurpose Credit Agency (OSAMCA) loan, the OGSG- Bank of Industry (BOI) Matching Fund which offers beneficiaries loans at single digit interest and the Oko’wo Dapo for small businesses.

He noted that, the State government was also providing infrastructure to support the development of small businesses adding that government has designed the Small and Medium Enterprises Industrial Land Acquisition Scheme (SILAS), a 1,000-hectare industrial hub equipped with essential amenities such as roads and reliable power supply, to aid SMEs.

Sofela pointed out that, regulatory reforms had also been introduced to improve the ease of doing business in the State stressing that, government’s efforts “ is evident through initiatives such as streamlined business registration processes, investment in critical infrastructure, and the establishment of industrial parks and clusters to attract investment and stimulate industrial growth”.

The Commissioner who lauded the resilience of SMEs despite various challenges they faced also commended the ASBON and the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment for honouring small businesses that have been resilient.

Earlier in his opening address, President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), Dr. Femi Egbesola said the award was organised by the ASBON, an association of over 40,000 members scattered across 34 States of the country to celebrate SME enablers’ outstanding contributions between January and December 2023.

Also in his welcome address, Chairman, Odua Investment Limited, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru who was also the Chairman of the occasion described SMEs as the most important factor stressing that despite their importance small businesses still face funding challenges as big businesses are always given priority by capital providers.

The former Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry who called for all stakeholders to match words with action stated that government needs to support and empower SMEs recalling that through the 1bn OGSG-BOI Matching Fund the Ogun State government empowered small businesses with single digit interest loan which enabled many adire sellers export their products to the United Kingdom.

Delivering a goodwill message, Founder, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr. Muda Yusuf called for SMEs to be carried along on conversation that bothers on monetary and fiscal policies further highlighting the need for concessionary financing for SMEs as well as the recapitalisation of development lenders like the Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry for more effectiveness.

Yusuf implored more State governments to invest in industrial Parks, enforce government policies on patronage of local goods and professionals and also encourage artisans while calling on small business owners to seek for funding from cooperatives.

Some of the award winners include Visa Nigeria, Jumia, Providus Bank, Fate Foundation and others.

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