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President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has called on the Federal Government to provide more funds for Small and Medium Enterprises to expand their businesses and create more employment.
Dangote made the call on Monday in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
He said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should channel more funding to the SMEs to stimulate economic growth and development.
The chairman said the best way to generate employment and improve the standard of living for Nigerians was to pump more funds to boost SMEs as the engine of growth and higher employers of labour than large companies.
He said “The CBN should also step up its interventions in the area of improving funding for small and medium scale enterprises.
“This will create jobs and raise the standard of living of the people.
“Effective funding of the small and medium scale enterprises will drastically reduce the high rate of unemployment in the country.
“Opportunities are not being created fast enough to match the ever-increasing work force and this is one of the effects of many years of de-industrialisation in the country.
“Retrenchment both in the public service and the private sector also continue to worsen the unemployment crises.”
Quoting a United Nations report, Dangote said youth unemployment rose to 42 per cent in 2016, with many graduates combing the streets in search of often-elusive white-collar jobs.
The business mogul said the current economic recession had further worsened the situation as the government continued to record dwindling revenues, thus making it increasingly difficult for it to fulfill some of its obligations to the people.
He identified MSMEs in agriculture and agro-allied industries, manufacturing (mobilepackages), entertainment and vocational skills as some of the most fruitful players in the sector to be invested on.
The CBN had been urged by several players in the manufacturing, agriculture and banking sectors to further release the conditions for SMEs to access the N220 billion MSME fund allocated by the Federal Government.
Most SME owners have complained that the conditions are too stringent and they are therefore unable to access the fund since it was launched in 2012.
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