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Poor credit access, key frustration against Nigeria’s gain from AGOA, ETLS—SMEDAN

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Rising from a strategic capacity building programme for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), held in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, has opened up on the failure of Nigerian MSMEs to gain from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS).

He said whereas the benefits and incentives, which AGOA and ETLS present span over 6,400 products, which are in abundance in Nigeria, the inability of SMEs and MSMEs to access credit facilities from financial institutions with ease  remains a stumbling block.

Business Hilights recalls that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), had last week in a conference revealed that credit facilities from Nigerian banks only exist on papers and not in reality as banks only give credit to short termed businesses and not businesses that are budding.

Explaining more in his welcome address at a capacity building programme tagged, ‘Strengthening of Business Membership Organisations (BMOS),’ Radda noted that another factor contributing to the failure was the lack of sustainable foreign exchange inflow.

While agreeing that Nigerian MSMEs have the potential to generate sizeable foreign exchange through export of Nigerian goods and services to US and ECOWAS markets, he was quick to point out that the potential can only be useful when credit facilities are given to small business operators with ease.

Radda averred that “If Nigerian SMEs can be developed and equipped to properly reap from the benefits these opportunities present alone, Nigeria will actualise the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP),” he stated. According to him, Nigeria’s MSMEs are capable of generating enough foreign exchange and massive employment for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.

“The ETLS was adopted as a conscious policy to effectively mobilise national capacities for accelerated industrial growth and economic development…

Some of the participants who spoke to Business Hilights South South Bureau chief argued that government is only giving lip service attention to the SME sector, forgetting that economies grow better when SMEs are doing well.

According to them, banks and even all the development banks including the Bank of Industry (BoI) are only tossing them around with failed promises after taking money from them.

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