The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has urged managers of the economy to address the issue of high interest rates, describing it as a major barrier to business growth and entrepreneurship development.
According to the Chamber, with the prime lending rate hovering at 17.59 per cent alongside a maximum lending rate of 30.94 per cent, it is difficult for entrepreneurs to thrive or for new investments to be created.
The National President of the Chamber, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, during a visit to The Guardian in Lagos, yesterday, advocated more investment friendly policies, interventions and measures which will reduce the cost of funds, adding that the prevailing situation has continued to prevent entrepreneurs from fully gaining and exploiting the potential of their businesses and even hinder new ventures.
Lawson added that the MSME sector which is a very strategic contributor to the nation’s economy is still faced with constraints such as access to finance, weak infrastructure, and inconsistency in government policies, access to market and information, multiple taxation and outdated skills and technology.
“Despite these challenges, MSMEs in 2013 contributed about 48.47 per cent to nominal GDP indicating that there is need for firmer commitment from the government to carry on with building the MSME sector because Nigerian MSMEs have compelling growth potential if provided with an enabling environment,” she said.
Similarly, NACCIMA tasked the Federal Government on the need to implement the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) for the desired outcome to be realised.
On the 2018 budget, Lawson said the delay in the passage and signing of the 2017 Budget has had negative impact on both the private and public sectors but most especially the Private sector which relies on the budget for strategic planning.
To mitigate the negative impact of the delayed passage of the budget, NACCIMA boss charged the executive and legislative arms of government to ensure the speedy passage of the 2018 budget.
“We hope the Executive and the Legislative arms of government will continue to work together in ensuring prompt passage of the 2018 budget. The Association once again commends the Federal government for increasing allocations to Capital Expenditure in the 2017 budget and hopes to see an even greater increase in the 2018 budget,” she added.
Lawson further advocated improved women empowerment saying, “Nigerian women are very industrious and form a very large part of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector in Nigeria. When women are empowered they have the ability to transform businesses. Nigerian women are very active members of the Chamber Movement in Nigeria even down to the grassroots.”