MSMEs operators seek solutions to rising cost of goods, services

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By Ikenna Uwadileke

Abuja, Aug. 14, 2022 The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASMEs), has called for a downward review of taxes to check the rising cost of goods and services in the country.

Dr Abdulrasheed Yerima, the National President of NASMEs made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

Yerima also emphasised the need for the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) and regulatory agencies to reduce tariff and taxes imposed on imported raw materials.

He said that tax reduction was essential in checking the rising cost of goods and services from further affecting Nigerians economically.

NAN reports that many Nigerians have continued to groan over the rising cost of goods and services with attendant effect on their purchasing powers.

According to Yerima, customs should reduce the tariff on manufacturing equipment powered by gas especially.

“This will enable MSMEs to migrate from the use of diesel to gas in powering their generators and their machines, thereby, addressing the challenges of power and transportation,’’ he said.

Yerima also spoke on the need for government to engage with relevant stakeholders to review charges by regulatory bodies.

He expressed concern that instead of reducing charges, regulatory bodies were increasing the charges.

According to him, Nigeria as a country and the world have not really recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More so, the war in Ukrain is affecting major players in the oil and gas industry, necessitating the need to embrace renewable energy and other alternatives to boost production at a reduced cost.

“The impacts of COVID-19 and the war in Ukarian have brought us to where we are today but we believe there would be alternatives.

“I can assure you that opportunities will emerge, it is not going to continue like this,’’ Yerima said.

On his part, Chief Pius Nnamani, the National Secretary, Amalgamated Commercial Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACTMORRAN), urged the Federal Government to rescind any plan to ban commercial motorcycle operations.

Nnamani said that banning the operations of motorcycle popularly called “okada’’ would result to unemployment and increase hardship among operators and Nigerians.

“As law abiding association, we have no option than to ask why they are planning to ban it.

“As far as we are concerned, we are law abiding and we have registered “okada’’ riders under ACTMORRAN and which we register under NISAS which is Federal Government’s security alert platform,’’ he said.

Nnamani said that more than six million registered members of ACTMORRAN would continue to abide by the law to ensure their services contribute to reduce the cost of items and services.

According to him, removing the head is not the treatment for headache.

“Federal Government should consider what “okada’’ riders are contributing to the economy.

“We have degree holders who are riding okada’ and we have business men who are intookada’ to earn a living.

“Some of us are part of this association because we are owners, we buy and give to riders and control their activities.

“It is not like everyone who rides motorcycle is promoting insecurity.

“If you watch motorcycle riders who are not registered, you will know and we are thinking that the Federal Government will think about registering them with Vehicle Inspection Office.

“Also their NISAS numbers should be encrypted on their motorbikes as it will help to control operations and verify transporters as far as you have the data on the system.

“This will reduce bad eggs in the business.

“We cannot say all the riders are legally doing the business because we have bad eggs.

“We have members who are using it to commit crime and there are measures to punish them,’’ Nnamani said.

He assured of the association’s commitment to punish registered members involved in criminal activities

“If any of our members commit an offence, we have unit, branch, local government and state from there anybody who commits an offence will be reported and we will collect his bike and he will not ride for one week,’’ he said.

Recent survey by NAN in Wuse, Garki and Nyanya markets in Abuja, shows that some goods have recorded 279, 133 and 268 per cent increments with 50kg of flour rising from N7,000 to N26, 000.

A family sized loaf of bread currently sells for N700 as against N300 in 2015 and 50kg of rice from N8, 700 to N32, 000, while a litre of diesel increased from N145 to N850.