…assures Reps will review SMEs unfriendly legislations
By Linda Ike
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu said the observance of sit-at-home in the south east on Mondays has affected the movement of goods between the northern and the southern hemispheres of Nigeria.
Kalu said that the south East looses an estimated N10 billion to N13 billion in the transportation sector alone on every sit-at-home day.
He made the submissions during a courtesy call by the Nigerian Association Of Small And Medium Enterprises (NASMEs) led by its President, Dr. Abdulrashid Yerima in his office at the National Assembly, on Friday.
Kalu said that insecurity in the region was affecting the small and medium enterprises which he recognised as a major contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He assured the commitment of the House to review the laws that are inhibiting the operations of the SMEs in the country.
He said: “According to a recent data, SMEs account for 48% of the National GDP in emerging economies, additionally the world bank report SMEs play pivotal role in job creation.
“Therefore, up scaling entrepreneurship because its strategic imperative to revitalizing the Nigerian economy. SMEs must be seen as a strategic tool to our economic development.
“As legislators, we are aware of security problems facing our nation. In recent years, the security situation has posed hurdles. The sit -at-home in the South East has affected the movement of goods between the north and the south. It ought not to be so.
“Why this issue affects the entire nation. We can examine specific examples. Our businesses are going down and most of our businesses are SME businesses and the security challenges are suffocating the SMEs businesses in their numbers.
“Also billions and trillions of Naira are being lost to the sit at home order.
“There are other parts of the country where insecurity has suffocated SMEs and something must be done about this. It’s disheartening to note that the ongoing insecurity in the region will have a profound impact to trade and socioeconomic outcomes.
“Statistics from SBM Intelligence revealed that the south East looses an estimated ten billion naira to 13 billion in the transportation sector alone, every sit at home day.
“Traders on the other hand face looses ranging from N5.4 billion to N31 billion daily. These figures are alarming and underscore the urgency of addressing the security challenges in the region. So if there’s no reason for these non state actors to stop this, let this be their reason. That they are killing their own region with insecurities created by themselves. When you sit at home other regions are not sitting at home.
“When the SMEs in the south east suffer due to insecurity, the country suffers. It impacts the whole country.
“There must be legislative commitment in order to address some of your concerns. The SMEs are the backbone of every country. As legislators, we are committed to supporting and making laws to grow SMEs. My office is ready to partner with the association, we will find ways to review existing laws that will be not SMEs friendly. We believe that by creating more enabling environment for SMEs to thrive, we can address some of the economic challenges facing our great nation”.
Earlier in his presentation, the President of the Nigerian Association Of Small And Medium Enterprises (NASME) led by its President, Dr. Abdulrashid Yerima appealed to the Deputy Speaker to help the body enact laws that will support the growth of SMEs in the country.