Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said government regulatory agencies should do more to improve the ease of doing business for small businesses rather than constitute bottlenecks to their smooth operations in the country.
He said though the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is currently working to remove obstacles in the operation of small businesses, “We need to take a second look at the way we regulate SMEs in the country”.
The vice president said the government must continue on incremental basis to provide an enabling business environment for the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to thrive.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Convention Center in Abuja, the Osinbajo said government policy and private sector investments in small businesses will go a long way in determining the country’s economic trajectory.
Specifically, he said the current regulatory regime appeared to constitute hindrances to the growth of the SMEs subsector , adding that the requirement for fumigation license from small businesses as well as all manner of constraints ideally shouldn’t occur.
He said the current administration is however working to remove all impediments to the growth of small businesses adding that the Finance Act currently provides numerous incentives for SMEs.
The vice president also said the ACCI and other chambers of commerce must pay special attention to SMEs’ regulation going forward with a view calling government officials to order wherever there are perceived shortcomings on their part.
He further maintained that businesses cannot thrive if “government officials considered small businesses as obstacles”.
He argued that government regulations must not constitute roadblocks to the growth of SMEs but rather serve as business facilitator going forward.
Osinbajo, however, commended the outgoing ACCI President, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode for the edifice, adding that he has been able to prove a point in the capacity of the private sector to deliver results.
He said Kayode has so far contributed to building the Nigerian economy since assumption of office at the chamber, spearheading several initiatives that has repositioned the chamber.
He, expressed hope that the incoming ACCI President, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar will keep up the positive works at the chamber and build on the successes of his predecessor.
The vice president also challenged the ACCI and other chambers of commerce across the country to play a greater role in the pursuit of greater enabling business environment for SMEs.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, earlier assured that his ministry will continue to support the chamber to grow the SMEs sub-sector.
Kayode however, said the centre would among other things, promote the Nigerian economy, create opportunities for youths and boost support for MSMEs.
He urged the federal government to increase its support for the chamber, adding that it believed the economy will soon return to the path of growth from the present recession.
But he stressed that support for SMEs remained critical for retooling the economy, pointing out that there was need to encourage the development of industrial parks going forward.