Plans in place to support Nigeria’s SMEs - CNBC Africa

Plans in place to support Nigeria’s SMEs

Western Africa

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“We’re addressing the issue of location, the issue of financing and the issue of capacity-building. We’ve had training sessions for some of our SMEs and some of our artisans as well, so that we bring them up to speed with what is going on in terms of technology, access to market,” Olusola Oworu, the Lagos state commissioner for commerce and industry, told CNBC Africa.

Lagos has been seen as Nigeria's economic nerve centre. In recent times, it has embarked on a number of initiatives, including the Lekki Free Trade Zone and Eko Atlantic City, to encourage commerce and development.

However, it’s often the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) that face the biggest obstacles and more must be done to ensure that they form part of the development process.  

“They have a number of challenges in that sector, some of that is related to access to financing and, as we speak, we are working with some of our financial institutions to see how the small and medium-scale enterprises can access financing at a single digit interest rate,” Oworu explained.

“Another issue that we’re looking at is in terms of location, because most of them have challenges in finding suitable places where they can set up their businesses. So we have three enterprise zones that we’re developing in the state for the small-scale enterprises,” she added.

Twenty-five million people are expected to live and work in the region by 2015 and Oworu insists that Lagos state is working closely with the Nigerian government to put the right policies in place, and to ensure that SMEs are given the right amount of support.