In the midst of economic trials, Dr. Muda Yusuf, CEO of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), asserts that the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector holds the key to Nigeria’s economic resurgence, provided it operates in a conducive environment.
Yusuf highlights that the MSMEs have the potential to create over 20 million jobs, but the sector’s growth has been hampered by insufficient attention from authorities.
Speaking at the 2023 business roundtable themed ‘MSMEs: The Catalyst for Nigeria’s Economic Rejuvenation and Growth,’ organized by the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) in Lagos, the former Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) emphasizes that there are approximately 39.65 million MSMEs, with micro-enterprises constituting 96.9 percent.
He envisions that if only 50 percent of these enterprises could generate one job each, it would result in about 20 million new employment opportunities.
Yusuf acknowledges the challenging climate for businesses, particularly MSMEs, and applauds those who have persevered despite the prevailing difficulties. He emphasizes that MSMEs are the backbone of the Nigerian economy, embodying the resilience the nation is renowned for, even in the face of significant challenges.
However, Yusuf highlights the high mortality rate among Nigerian MSMEs due to various challenges within the business environment. These challenges range from structural issues like infrastructure deficits to currency exchange rate fluctuations, leading to liquidity crises in the foreign exchange market.
In seeking solutions, Yusuf proposes addressing critical infrastructure concerns, with immediate attention to be directed towards electricity supply and logistics. He also advocates for resolving issues related to foreign exchange liquidity and currency depreciation. Additionally, he suggests tax exemptions for MSMEs with an annual turnover of N50 million and below, coupled with efforts to streamline and reduce the burden of multiple taxes and levies.
Furthermore, Yusuf stresses the importance of tackling regulatory and institutional hurdles that affect MSMEs, particularly in accessing credit, managing the cost of credit, and determining fund tenure. Addressing these concerns will be pivotal in fostering a thriving MSME sector and catalyzing economic growth.