By Rukayat Moisemhe/Florence Onuegbu
Lagos, Sept. 23, 2020 Mrs Getrude Akhimein, Chairperson, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) has appealed for more tax and levy waivers for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Akhimein made the appeal on Wednesday during the opening ceremony of the 5th edition of the Lagos State MSMEs Exclusive Fair in Lagos.
The fair has the theme, “MSMEs in the Time of COVID-19: Survival Strategies to Beat the Odds”.
Akhimein said that more waivers were necessary to reduce the hardships that had plagued homes due to the pandemic.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic would go into history books as the most devastating man-made disaster that afflicted humanity in this century.
Akhimien lauded the decision of the government to cancel the payment of tax for MSMEs with a turnover of under N25million.
She said this would enable businesses reinvest profits, therefore leading to expansion and wealth creation.
The NASSI chairperson appealed for the empowerment of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to provide loans to more MSMEs.
She saisd that in addition, more grants should be provided for startups to encourage entrepreneurship.
Akhimien urged entrepreneurs to use the period of the pandemic as a time to evaluate, formalise and embrace technology to ensure competitiveness post COVID-19.
She also counseled entrepreneurs on authentic certification by the appropriate regulatory bodies for consumer confidence, which she said translated to higher business turnover.
“The certification of products should be the priority of all MSMEs, because the product becomes acceptable in the market place allowing for higher turnover.
“I have appealed to NASSI members to take advantage of the opportunity National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has given to register their products at a discounted rate to quickly do so,” she said.
Dr Lola Akande, the state Commissioner for
Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives. said Lagos was set to launch its MSME E- Commerce Hub to enhance online trading.
She said the E-Commerce Hub was part of the current administration’s initiatives at enhancing capacity building for MSME operators in the State.
Akande said that the E- Commerce Hub would expose MSMEs to various market opportunities, financial linkages, and provide necessary advice on innovative approach for businesses.
She said that the state was sensitive to the enormous challenges faced by businesses in the country.
“As such, it has become imperative for the state to continually provide support to entrepreneurs and business owners to mitigate the challenges through consistent marketing support activities such as this exclusive trade fair.
“The Lagos MSME Fair is an undeniable evidence of the current administration’s unshaken dedication to the continuous growth of the MSME sector in Lagos State.
“According to statistics, the sector provides about 48 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria and accounts for 96 per cent of businesses.
“Lagos has the highest number of MSMEs (11,663) and 3,224,324 micro-enterprises.
“The administration of Gov. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has been tremendously supportive to the development of MSMEs in the State,” she said.
Akande cited the governor’s continuous support and mandate to the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to provide affordable loans to MSMES at a reduced interest rate among other initiatives to cushion the effect of COVID-19 on the state.
“The State Government in collaboration with Federal Government, through the office of the Vice President, has recently commissioned Eko MSMEs Fashion Hub 1.
“The hub is equipped with modern industrial machine and equipment meant to take fashion industry to the next level in meeting up with international standard.
“Also an industrial estate is on-going at Imota Light Industrial Estate, Ikorodu to provide work spaces for our small-scale industrialists in the Food and Beverages sector with modern facilities within the industrial estate.
“In addition, the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Cooperatives also sponsors yearly an ample number of MSMEs operators in the State to Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry organised International Trade Fair free of charge.”
She said the government would continue to be more pragmatic and receptive to initiatives that would foster growth, development and sustainability of MSMEs.
Akande said this was geared toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 in the state.