The pain points of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that remain the biggest employer of labour have been effectively ignored by the Nigerian government, said a former Vice Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi.
He said this in an interview on Sunday Politics aired on Channels TV, stating that the Federal Government’s frequent borrowings were not sustainable.
Obi called for a more “productive” borrowing scheme and not merely for “consumption” as he described the current borrowing framework of the incumbent administration.
He said, “Are you borrowing for productivity or are you borrowing for consumption? My worry here is that we are borrowing for consumption.
“I am saying that the country is not productive and there is nothing wrong in borrowing; if you are borrowing, then it shouldn’t be for consumption and that’s why more and more people are getting poorer.
“That engine today is not being supported in Nigeria. Nigeria has a total of 40 million SMEs but there is not properly articulated fiscal and monetary policy to support the critical sector.
“The entire loan to the private sector in Nigeria today is about N30 trn. Less than N1.5 trn is going to SMEs. This is less than five percent of the entire loan. This means Nigeria is not supporting its engine that can enhance the nation’s economic growth.
“The SMEs are the biggest employer of labour in many advanced countries of the world. We need fiscal monetary policies that would invest in this engine of growth in order to create jobs.”