The Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) says micro and small scale entrepreneurs compliance with global standards will accelerate competitiveness, access to new markets and economic growth.
Dr Dikko Radda, the Director-General of SMEDAN, made the assertion during the September Breakfast Meeting of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) in Lagos on Thursday.
The theme of the meeting is: “Setting new standards in sustainable SME sector development in Nigeria”.
Radda said that the ability of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to compete in domestic and global markets was a key determinant for growth and job creation should be therefore a political priority for governments of most countries.
He said that the main obstacles faced by MSMEs in international trade were linked to compliance to different regulations and standards applied to products and services.
“Products made to standard can have much more credibility which builds a long-lasting positive reputation that proves vital when moving to international market.
“ISO standards can help small businesses increase their efficiency by helping to drive down costs and save valuable time and money,’’ Ebuka Ugochukwu, NACC’s Communications Manager, quoted the director-general as saying.
“MSMEs can benefit from the expert knowledge contained in standards and are less likely to make costly mistakes that could spell the difference between success and failure,” Radda said.
He said that to ensure a seamless development of the MSMEs sub-sector in the country, all the challenges confronting the sub- sector must be deliberately and conscientiously addressed.
According to him, policymakers can make standards and regulation work for MSMEs by sensitising them on relevance of standards, and making information on standards and technical regulations accessible to them.
He said that government should also build the capacity of MSMEs to identify and maintain standards in their products and services.
The director-general, who was represented by Mr Monday Ewans, SMEDAN’s Director, Enterprise, Development and Promotion, said that adequate incentives should be provided to drive MSMEs voluntary conformity to standards.
Radda insisted that government should strengthen technical infrastructure.
Chief Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, the President of NACC said that MSMEs undergo great level of challenges, failures and subsequent collapse because of inadequate infrastructure and enabling environment to accelerate their growth.
Akomolafe said that these challenges had hindered the transformation of many MSMEs into large scale business enterprises.
He said that the most worrisome among the challenges was the non-availability of funds, adding that most financial institutions see MSMEs as high risk ventures.
Akomolafe said that the chamber would continue to work with MSMEs toward building their capacity though various human capital development initiatives, provision of linkages for possible funding and access to market