MSMEs Count Woes At Gems3 Public-Private Engagement Dialogue

The Nigerian business environment is becoming increasingly tougher for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as they continue to count their woes, ranging from access to finance, infrastructure gaps, multiple taxation, policy issues and bureaucratic registration processes.
To address some of these challenges faced by MSMEs in the business environment in Lagos State, the Growth and Employment for States (Gems3) brought together the public and private sector players to discuss challenges with a view to finding possible solutions.
The dialogue session, which took place last Wednesday at Westown Hotels in Lagos, had in attendance representatives of various small business groups in Lagos State.
“Businesses are facing a lot of challenges and the variables which impact on business performance cut across all sectors. I will like to group the challenges into four, which are; macroeconomic issues, infrastructural issues, policy issues and issues relating to institutions,” Muda Yusuf, director general, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
“All these constraints make businesses very difficult for SMEs in the country. Some of these challenges can be fixed by the state while some by the federal government,” Yusuf said.
The LCCI DG said the federal government is already addressing some of the constraints of the infrastructure issues. He noting the improvement in the power situation and said refineries are now working, making fuel available for businesses.
He urged the federal government to give businesses a clear policy direction.
Despite of the opportunities of doing business in the country, Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, still has one of the worst records in Doing Business criteria, ranking 170 out of 189 countries, according to the World Bank.
According to the World Bank says an average company in Lagos expends 956 hours per year in paying taxes.
But Arinola Odulana, permanent secretary, Office of Overseas Affairs and Investment, Lagos State, said the state government has created the office of ‘Lagos Global’ for the promotion of inward and outward foreign investment while creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Odulana said that the state government will create a stable macroeconomic environment and enact policies that will facilitate the ease of doing business in the state.
Aisha Mujaddadi, lead and manger, PPEM, Gems3, Kaduna state, said: “GEMS3 is focused on three key areas which are taxation, access to land and investment promotion. We believe that with our support to the Lagos State government, these issues will be addressed and more SMEs will operate in the state and jobs will be created.”

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