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Stop sharing money to SMEs, fix infrastructure, multiple taxation, expert tells FG

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Leading development economist, Dr. Ken Igboanugo has called on the federal government to stop the act of sharing money to groups of people claiming to be members of one corporative society or business segment, saying the challenge of growing small businesses in Nigeria is not just funding but business enabling infrastructure which can only be provided by the government.

According to him, “There is no amount of credit you will give to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that will solve the challenge of power in his business, road network to distribute his products and resolve the puzzle of multiple taxation posed by local governments and even the state governments.

“It is on record that several small businesses hardly cross the two0year survival mark due to issues stemming from taxation and rates to bottlenecks in ease of doing businesses.

“Today, it takes an average of three months for somebody outside Abuja to get a new business registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). These are the main problems of small businesses and more just funding.

Igboanugo was reaction to the recent announcement by the federal government to share a whooping sum of N140bn among petty traders, artisans, enterprising youths as well as small scale farmers across the country.

The initiative to be championed by the Bank of Industry (BoI), is doing the right thing in a wrong way.

In his further submission, “Such massive pool of fund could be used to boost power supply and provide clusters which the federal government through the Ministry of Investment had been dribbling Nigerians’ since the onset of this government”.

Explaining more on how the fund will be monitored for good use by beneficiaries, BoI said it has employed the services of market aggregators to train, identify and monitor those that will benefit from the programme to ensure that the money is paid back in 24 weeks.

Giving more details of the new facility expected toi stimulate the economy and inflate purchasing powers of many Nigerians in Abuja, the market aggregator of the Propoor Gate Foundation for the North, Yunusa Gafai, said the N140bn for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), under its special intervention programme on social investment is to empower the beneficiaries economically.

He said the loans to be given to them range from N10,000 to N100,000 with no interest charges but an administrative fee of N500 per N10,000.

But to get access, Gafai noted that the individual must be a registered member of an accredited market association, cooperative or trade group and must have a valid Bank Verification Number, BVN.


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