By Daniel Essiet
The Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN) President Prince Saviour Iche, has urged the government to provide incentives to uplift more entrepreneurs of the micro segment of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) towards the mainstream.
He highlighted that the MSME sector is a major job creator and the backbone of the economy.
As some banks refused to lend to SMEs, he noted that an analysis of loan defaults revealed that delinquencies among MSMEs continue to be lower than large companies.
Iche noted that building a financially strong and resilient small business sector that can withstand shocks and have a stable base to grow is fundamental to the economic growth.
Though the backbone of economy, the AMEN boss said the MSME sector has been under severe stress and efforts should be channeled towards increased flow of finance into the sector having been burdened with cancelled orders, loss of customers and supply chain disruptions occasioned by COVID-19.
He called for increased support to channel liquidity to the MSME sector by de-risking lending from banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) through a range of instruments, including credit guarantees.
He said the distressed MSME sector needs a push from the government with a Credit Guarantee Scheme.
He sought guaranteed cover to the promoters who can take debt from the banks to further invest in their stressed MSME units.
Apart from a funding mechanism dedicated to small businesses, he said Nigeria needs minister for MSME.
He explained the MSME sector was central to the nation’s growth and job creation and would be a key to the pace of economic recovery, calling for a separate ministry to broaden government’s support into the industry.
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