‘SMEs should adapt model to access hybrid funds’
To further improve access to affordable financing by small businesses, stakeholders in the development financing sector have urged such enterprises to explore opportunities made available by innovative hybrid financing sources.
According to them, small businesses need to adapt their strategies and portfolio requirements to attract the right kind of funding as well as put into consideration policy frameworks of the Federal Government in 2018.Indeed, the stakeholders urged for caution in taking certain decision as oil prices continue to rise above projections.
Speaking at a workshop organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in collaboration with Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc, and tagged, ‘Preparing SMEs/Corporates for 2018’, the Chamber’s President, Babatunde Ruwase sought for a re-appraisal of strategies in order to maximise the emerging opportunities.
Ruwase tasked operators in the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises sector of the economy to study the various government policies regarding their business and acquaint themselves with their benefits.
“Today’s occasion gives practical expression to our resolve to contribute to the discourse of issues of critical importance to the private sector and especially the SME sector of the Nigerian economy,” he stated.
The LCCI president said the theme of the workshop was very timely because businesses needed to strategise and explore emerging opportunities and manage inherent risks at the beginning of the year.He, therefore, called on the SMEs and corporate organisations to study the recent policies of government towards improving access to credit, payment of taxes, starting a business, trading across borders and execution of contracts in order to explore their provisions and benefits.
Ruwase said, “For instance, two bills were signed into law to improve the business environment. We now have the Secured Transactions in Movable Assets Act and the Credit Reporting Act 2017. There are also special intervention windows in the foreign exchange market through which the SMEs can access forex for their imports.
“We need to start looking for possibilities within the system as government continues with the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”The LCCI leader urged the government to continue to tackle issues of multiple taxation, inconsistent policies, challenges of regulatory environment and insecurity in the country.
“For company executives and entrepreneurs, I draw your attention to the enormous potential in technology, the new media and available smart communications and the e-commerce platforms to boost your operations and marketing in this new age of digitalisation,” he said.
Representing the Executive Director, Micro-Enterprises, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mrs Toyin Adeniji, the Group Head of the division, Mrs Uloma Ike, charged small enterprises to take advantage of various funding schemes made available by the bank.
Specifically, she noted that the bank in 2017 empowered 750 small businesses to the tune of N29 billion, adding that many opportunities abound going forward.
On his part, the Executive Director, Business Development, NIBSS, Niyi Ajao, who represented the company’s boss, Ade Shonubi, emphasised the need to adapt strategies to emerging trends.
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