By Francis Akinnodi
An economic expert, Tawio Owoeye has urged the government and other stakeholders to take decisive action in promoting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to foster economic growth in the country.
The economist emphasised the significant role SMEs play in any economy.
Speaking with The Hope recently, Owoeye stressed the need for deliberate efforts to support and empower SMEs, as they constitute the majority of businesses in the country.
“They contribute close to 80 percent of employments; more than 40 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and they are the hub, and the nursery for big businesses.
“Countries and regions that promote SMEs are regions that would grow and mature.
“They are the ones that provide inputs to big business and they also provide a hub for the middle class.
“So, the vibrancy and the manipulation of SMEs is key to the sustenance and competitiveness of economies.”
The expert said for SMEs to thrive, business climate regulations such as taxes needed to be considered and addressed.
He, however, expressed delight that the current Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu had graciously set a system in motion to reduce the taxes that were available for businesses.
He said, “This is a massive action that will reduce the difficulties and challenges that SMEs and other businesses face.
On challenges, Umoessien said SMEs on the continent faced enormous challenges with energy being one of the major challenge.
He said SMEs were mostly located in off metropolitan environments in the rural areas, in villages where you do not have good roads or power supply.
He said poor communication was also one of the major challenges affecting small businesses on the continent.
The economist highlighted some factors necessary for SMEs growth to include energy availability, rural electrification, renewable energy use, roads construction, telecommunications, tax reductions for SMEs particularly certain class of businesses.
He said it was important that they should have moratorium and should be allowed to do business for certain years.