The Federal Government on last week admitted that a majority of the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in the country were not getting financial support.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who spoke in Abuja, said only about eight per cent of the 17 million to 20 million SMEs were getting access to finance from recognised institutions in the country.
The minister spoke after the inauguration of the National Council on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.
The council is to be chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Aganga said to achieve inclusive economic growth, the poor funding of SMEs in the country must change.
He said, “So, if we are talking about inclusive economic growth, you cannot ignore this sector. Three out of four people employed in this country are from this sector, but we have never in the history of his country treated the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as a sector.
“As a result, they have had to grow on their own. A country where you have about 17 million to 20 million SMEs and only eight per cent of them have access to finance from recognised institutions means that the system has not supported them in anyway.”
The minister, who is the technical chairman of the council, also noted that the economy could only thrive better when the SMEs, which he said constituted more than 50 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, were given the right attention.
In his remarks, Jonathan directed the council to make its priority the clearing of all encumbrances denying small business owners easy access to the N220bn provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the purpose.