The zonal vice president (North Central), of National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) Engr. Awwal Ibrahim Bununu has identified lack of affordable and sustainable energy as the major problem facing the growth of SMEs in Nigeria. He made this disclosure at the second monthly Policy and Strategic Dialogue of FCT branch of NASME.
Speaking to newsmen at the occasion, Engr. Bununu took time to explain some basic facts about SMEs. He defined SME thus; “Small enterprises are firms that employ less than 15persons and their asset base is not more than ten million naira. Medium enterprises employ more than 15persons but less the fifty with asset base of less than fifty million naira.”
He said SMEs can operate in the agricultural sector, the mining sector and that the “akara” woman is in SME category.
He said the North Central comprises of, FCT, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Kogi, Kwara, and Plateau States. He said that business opportunities in zone are many; the first being that the zone has Abuja which is a big boost to members in the zone and a big business hug in Africa.
The zone, according to him has vast agricultural potentials and mineral deposits especially the tin deposit in Jos, Plateau State and iron ore in Ajaokuta, Kogi State. Another boost for members in the fact that the zone has the power state of Niger which produces the bulk of the energy consumed in the country.
On what effort the association is making to get off takers for its members, he said; “The association has been to China, Japan, Russia and will be going Korea, USA, Canada, and Australia for market for the products of members of the association.
He said that apart from lack of affordable and sustainable energy, members of the association need access to quality infrastructure, access to market, access to skill acquisition and business development services.
The SSA (technical) to the President of NASME, Chris John Mamuda was at the event and he told news men that the present administration has shown interest in promoting SMEs in the country.
Mamuda believes there is misunderstanding about what SMEs are. He gave the definition of SMEs thus; “According to the National Policy on SMEs, a small business means a formalized business. This is not in the ordinary sense of small, which is why the policy is being reviewed.”
He noted that because of some lacuna in the policy, some foreign companies come and register as small companies and edge out citizens from the micro business sector. He said the association is trying to convince the government to put a law in place that will give micro business owners like the “akara” woman some benefits.