Earning from Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products is capable of increasing from the current level of about $300 billion to over $500 billion within a short space of time, if government focuses more on the development of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) business in the country.
Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in charge of operations, Mr. Tunde Lemo, gave the assurance at the weekend in Lagos, during a reception dinner, organised in his honour by the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (EPPAN), for his meritorious service and commitment in driving electronic payment system in the country.
According to him: “All over the world, SME is key to real sector growth. In advanced economies, SMEs account for over 50 per cent of the volume of businesses transacted. If Nigeria must grow the double digits in financial inclusion, she definitely has to look at SME growth and provides all it takes for SME businesses to flourish in the country.”
He added: “Thank God that President Jonathan’s transformation agenda is also targeting SMEs. Recently there was a launch of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and about N220 billion was earmarked for it. The bulk of Nigerian businesses is in MSMEs and so if government can give them access to finance and provide them with infrastructure such that cost of business is reduced, through availability of electric power, then the Nigeria economy is set to blossom.”
Currently our GDP is being reviewed, and when that is concluded, we are sure to have close to $500 billion GDP. Today our GDP is a little less than $300 billion and when that is achieved, we will become the biggest economy in Africa, Lemo said.
He insisted that should government supports SMEs fully, by recognising the sector as key to economic growth, then the Nigerian economy would become an economy to watch.
Speaking in a related development on the need to grow SME business in the country, Chief Operating Officer of Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), Mr. Philip Obioha, said part of the company’s five-year plan for technology developments in Nigeria, is to provide bundle services solutions that would help the growth of micro, small and medium scale enterprises in the country.
According to him, proper development of SMEs would lead to the growth of spin-off industries and subsidiary firms, thereby creating employment and increasing the country’s GDP growth.
Lemo was extolled for his virtues and commitment in driving electronic payment system in the country. In his citation, he was referred to as a man whose commitment to grassroots development in the financial sector resulted in the creation of the few established SMEs in the country today.
The growth of electronic payment system in the country, through the cashless society initiative of the CBN, was attributed to Lemo’s commitment and visionary leadership that has brought about developmental changes in the country.
Chief Executive Officer of EPPAN, Mrs. Regha Onajite, said Lemo would be greatly missed in the financial services industry and thanked him for his efforts in supporting and pushing the growth of electronic payment system in Nigeria.