The Director General of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru has identified inadequate funding and manpower as some of the critical challenges of the agency
Umaru said however, that the agency is considering creating other avenues to generate fund independently to boost its operations.
Speaking today at Commerce and Industry Correspondent Association of Nigeria (CICAN)’s Forum in Lagos, the DG said that part of the fund generating initiative is through levy to be imposed on imported products. Imposition of such levy is meant to protect indigenous SMEs which produce such products locally.
On the N220 billion CBN intervention funds to boost SMEs, the DG said only aboutN80 billion had been disbursed so far since 2012.
He said that the agency had been discussing with the CBN to further make it easier for more SMEs to access the funds.
“If we really want SMEs to access this fund, we need to relax the conditions. “We urge the CBN to look into this, because most of our small businesses are barely struggling to survive.
“At SMEDAN, we can serve as referrals to the bank on behalf of the SMEs, because we know them inside out.“We also need a lot of collaboration with other relevant agencies and we hope to delegate duties to increase the ease of doing business in the country.
“Many of the SMEs have already been ladened by regulatory conditions, taxes and poor infrastructure.“So, as stakeholders, we should device a means of lending more support to them,’’ the SMEDAN boss said.
Umaru also decried the poor state of infrastructure by the agency’s training facilities which included low working capacity at the state offices and inadequate manpower to meet up the demands of SMEs.