President General of the African Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (AASME), Darlington Kalu has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to ensure that funds earmarked for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises get to the real operators.
This is even as he appealed to the federal government to shelve the proposed increase in electricity tariff, saying that it would further stifle micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Kalu, who spoke at the commemoration of 2023 World MSME Day, held at the African MSME Hub, Aba, Abia State, said that the removal of the subsidy on petrol is telling on businesses, stressing that further increase in electricity tariff, would put the MSMEs out of business.
Our correspondent reports that Distribution Companies (Discos) had in June, a joint move, alerted electricity consumers in Nigeria to get ready for a 30-40 per cent tariff increase from July 1st 2023, a situation that has generated apprehension among MSME owners who feel they will be driven out of business.
Kalu said that allowing the DisCos to implement such an anti-business policy on a suffering economy like that of Nigeria at this critical time will be counterproductive, as production and transportation costs have quadrupled, resulting in the closure of so many businesses already.
The AASME President-General appealed to President Tinubu to introduce measures to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal and alleviate the suffering of the people and stop the move by the DisCos because the unemployment status of the country will skyrocket if the electricity hike succeeds.
He called on the president to see the role that MSMEs play in every economy, especially in Nigeria and find a way to save and protect them, stressing that when MSMEs start shutting down in any country, then that country should be ready for serious problems emanating from angry and hungry citizens.
Appealing to President Tinubu to ensure that funds earmarked for the development of MSMEs get to the real operators, Kalu argued that previous funds meant for the sector were diverted by politicians and equally alleged that the Naira redesign could have been introduced to kill MSMEs rather than support their activities.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, MSMEs were humiliated by the authorities, who hijacked all the palliatives meant for the sector operators,” he said.
Kalu appealed to the Federal Government to pay more attention to the MSMEs to build a better economy for the country, stressing that MSMEs are the backbone of every successful economy in the world.