Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to refocus its attention on non-oil sector to realise its Made in Nigeria aspiration.

Mr Babatunde Ruwase, President LCCI, made the call at 2018 Annual Seminar of the SME Group tagged: “Positioning MSMEs for Development and Global Competitiveness” in Lagos.

Ruwase said that SMEs required dedicated and sustained intervention through various reforms and policies and provision of basic infrastructure to thrive and fully contribute to the growth of the economy.

“With the right policy environment and provision of needed infrastructure, Nigerian entrepreneurs are quite resourceful and diligent to making the best for the Nigerian economy and fully contribute to the growth of the economy,” he said.

Ruwase reiterated the chamber’s commitment to the cause of the private sector, particularly the growth of the SMEs in Nigeria.

Also, Mr Abiodun Oladapo, Chairman, LCCI SME Group, said that with the appropriate legal and economic framework and when necessary, many nations had employed entrepreneurial activities to turn their economic fortunes.

Oladapo urged the government to concentrate on creating an enabling and conducive environment for businesses to thrive and support entrepreneurship activities to ensure that the economic train continuously remained at top speed.

He, however, lauded the nation’s effort at identifying entrepreneurship as the fore-front of economic growth and development to develop and diversify her economy.

“On this account, the government has created a lot of agencies and quasi-government organisation with the mandate to provide calculated direct interventions and assistance to support entrepreneurial activities.

“To mention a few, we have the Development Finance Office of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and a host of others.

“I implored members of the group and the business community at large to be aware of the various opportunities and take advantage of them,” he said.

Also, Mr Sola Dawodu, the Founder, Last Solution, advised entrepreneurs to have a documented business plan, be innovative and inculcate the habit of record keeping to attract investments and ascertaining the level of success or failure of businesses.

Dawodu also urged entrepreneurs to upgrade people, process and product from above mediocrity to the level of sophistication to compete globally.

“In addition, entrepreneurs need to understand the environmental and cultural differences wherein you want your business to operate,” he said.

Commenting, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director, Sterling Bank of Nigeria, said the unstructured nature, limited documentation, limited financial and knowledge, among others, were responsible for the challenges SMEs faced in accessing funding.

In her remarks, Miss Ezinne Nwokafor, Head of MSMEs, who represented Suleiman, decried the situation where entrepreneurs failed to delegate positions and responsibility to persons other that themselves.

“A situation whereby one person functions as the managing director, accountant, cleaner, auditor and the likes of a business enterprise does not spell well for that business.

“This means that should anything happen to that individual, the business crumbles or goes on break.

“How then do we provide loan to such an entity,? she queried.

Nwokafor enjoined entrepreneurs to take advantage of the services created by banks according to their various sectors to ensure sustainability of their businesses.

Mr Eden Andah, the Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP, urged entrepreneurs to engage regulators and professionals always.

Andah said this would keep them abreast of the various tax incentives that could be benefitted from the current tax policies in the country so as to prevent business failures.

Mr Babatunde Popoola, Chairman Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria urged entrepreneurs to at all times be credit worthy so as to be able to access loans.

Popoola revealed that the bureau had a database of all loans and credit facilities given to any individual.

“The bureau warehouses this information to help creditors in the distribution of loans to entrepreneurs,” he said.

Popoola also revealed that citizens were entitled to requesting for free credit report yearly.

Also, Mr Kanayo Aniegboka urged entrepreneurs to engage in digital marketing to have a wider reach of audience and therefore larger sales.