Support SMEs, tax industries less, entrepreneurs urge FG

Entreprenuers in the private sector, including the Vice- President, RAIN International, Mr Russ Cowley, and a managing partner at Verraki, Mr Niyi Yusuf, have called on the government to support SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and give them tax relief. They spoke at different fora in Lagos.   The Executive Director of RAIN Africa, Mr Adeoye Ajala, urged entrepreneurs to do business to aid the creation of more jobs. He described entrepreneurs as the growth engine of the economy and the backbone of major economies. Commenting on the economic issue, Yusuf called for increased support for the SMEs, considering their significant contributions to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. He spoke at an event in Lagos organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on the theme, ‘‘The Drivers of Private investment and Outlook 2020’.   He noted that in comparing private investment indicators across Africa, the SMEs in Nigeria had the largest GDP contribution at 49 per cent, trailed by South Africa at 34 per cent, Kenya at 30 per cent and Egypt at 25 per cent. Yusuf, however, said that Nigeria needed an improved enabling environment for the SMEs to thrive and he called for better patronage of the SMEs by the government, as done in other countries. He said, “Sixteen per cent of South Africa’s Federal Government’s procurement goes to the SMEs while the United States of America spends 22.5 per cent of all Federal procurement on the SMEs via the Small Business Administration. “There should be a deliberate policy that would channel at least 20 per cent of the Federal Government’s procurement towards indigenous SMEs.”   Read the full news on The Punch here