The Federal Government’s strong push to encourage Nigerians to support locally- made goods and services will help encourage entrepreneurship at the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) segment.
This could spur diversification of the economy, create local jobs, and reduce unemployment.
The Regional Director for Sage in West Africa, Mr. Magnus Nmonwu, made this known on the sideline of the Africa Day celebration with the theme, “Building a better Africa and a better world.”
Sage is the market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of entrepreneurs and business builders.
Nmonwu said: “Small businesses and start-ups are the engines that will power Nigeria’s growth into the future.
“The sooner we start supporting our proudly Nigerian suppliers and service providers, the better for us. With our support, they can create wealth and jobs for the country, and many of them could grow into globally competitive exporters.”
Nmonwu said the Federal Government should be praised for putting the spotlight on local manufacturers through initiatives such as the Made-in-Nigeria Dress Days and an Executive Order compelling state agencies to direct at least 40 per cent of procurement to Made-in-Nigeria goods and services.
He stressed that local service providers and manufacturers could play an important role in the revival of Nigeria’s economy.
“We welcome the effort to encourage industrialisation and diversify the economy from commodities into new areas. Strong local demand is the foundation of a manufacturing sector that can grow into an export industry,” Nmonwu said.
According to him, government was putting its money where its mouth is with its Executive Order and giving the public a good example to follow.
The Sage Regional Director, however, said there was scope for the public sector to do more to encourage the growth of SMEs.
Such encouragement, he said, includes tax incentives for local producers, support in accessing finance, and facilitating mentoring and skills development programmes between small business and bigger companies.
“The government should encourage small businesses to adopt business software so that they can improve regulatory compliance and financial controls. This could also help in tracking the performance of those that benefit from state loans and incentives, and hold them accountable,” Nmonwu said.
He added that infrastructure investment across roads, power, communications and ports are also important in spurring development of local industries.