Mr Dokun Olatunde, the Executive Director of Self Reliance Economic Advancement Programme (SEAP), has urged Nigeria to adopt a flexible policy to promote Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
Olatunde stated in Ibadan at the New Year thanksgiving service and 20th anniversary of the organisation.
He noted that for the future of SMEs to be bright, government needed to address the critical challenges facing the sector.
“Many businesses are not yielding profit because of multiple taxation and levies.
“There is a need to provide funding support for entrepreneurs, especially start -ups.
“To access loans, you need 150 per cent collateral and it has to be backed up by Certificate of Occupancy and not many SMEs can afford that,” he said.
The SEAP boss also called for a downward review of electricity tariff, especially for entrepreneurs.
“The cost of energy is too high, hence the huge cost of production and this is killing businesses gradually if left unchecked.
“You have to be on diesel for production and when you look at the economy, this is not adding value as people are struggling to survive,” he said.
He stated that the organisation was ready to support many youths to thrive through its various programmes geared toward self reliance.
“We want to see how we can build more youths to be self reliant and support them and that is why I said if the church is ready to promote youths who are graduates, it should guarantee them.
“Let the church stand as guarantor for them so that they can have access to funds and achieve their vision,” he said.
He said SEAP was focusing on digital microfinance to ensure members of the organisation do not fall prey to fraudsters.
In his sermon at the event, Rev. Kehinde Edwards of Molete Baptist Church Ibadan, counselled the government on the need to be more purposeful and focused in fulfilling its promises to Nigerians.
“We want to be seeing the dividends of democracy delivered to the masses; infrastructure should be built, health facilities should be provided and upgraded to modern technology and insecurity challenges should be addressed headlong.
“The government needs to rejig its strategies so that Nigeria can be peaceful, prosperous and the people can be happy,” he said.