SMEs: Why Government should provide better access to funds- Entrepreneurs

Dr Austin Asimonye, the Chief Executive Officer of Austin Laz and Co Plc, on Friday advocated better access to funds to help develop and grow Small and Medium Scale Entreprises (SMEs) in the country

He spoke in an interview with journalists inBenin on Friday.

He said financial institutions ought to give loans to owners of SMEs, adding that the conditions to access the facilities should not be stringent.

” Individuals may not be able to help themselves so much, you need to have some savings or grants to run an SME business.

“This is not always the way in all cases because money is not easy to come by.

“Some people have the idea but do not have the finance to actualise it. So in such a situation, government comes in directly or indirectly, but financial institutions need to come in too,’’ he said.

He said SMEs serve as veritable tools to boost commercial activities, create jobs as well as promote skills transfer.

Also speaking, the Chairman of Association of Polythene Producers in Edo, Mr Solomon Omofoman, said SMEs operators find it difficult to access loans because of lack of collateral and guarantors.

Omoforman said SMEs operators had to form unions and cooperatives so they could benefit from micro-credit loans.

He,however, noted that in most cases, the funds being offered are too small to bring the desired result in the business.

“My association formed a union but what we are being offered as loan is too small.

“For instance, the least of our cutting machine is N300, 000 and we are being offered N50,000 per person,” he said.

He appealed to government to intervene on behalf of SMEs so they could access loans.

“We need unbounded loans but we cannot meet the conditions, we are looking for government support to get such loans.

“If they cannot give us cash, they can invest the money directly in our business; they can buy machines for us and we pay in installments,’’ he said.

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