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SMEs: Bank of Industry advocates for managerial skill acquisition

By The Citizen
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The Bank of Industry (BOI) has advised stakeholders in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector to pursue and acquire managerial skills to enable them adapt to the dynamic business environment.

The Chief Executive Officer of BOI, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, said at the unveiling of the Association of Small Business Owners in Lagos, on Thursday that SMEs need such professional skills to enable them manage their funds resourcefully.

Oputu, who was represented by Mr. Pacqueens Irabor, said that 'finance is not what you need to start your business but creative ideas. If you can come up with innovative ideas, success will follow you.'

According to Oputu, SMEs contribute a large percentage to the economic growth of countries across the world.

She said in recognition of this, BoI had dedicated 85 per cent of its resources to boosting the growth of the sector.

ASBON President, Dr. Femi Egbesola, said the association was formed based on the fact that if the potentials of all businesses within the SME sector were annexed, it would contribute to the growth of the country's Gross Domestic Product and generate employment opportunities.

According to him, small business owners across the country form about 17.3 million of the total population with a total employment of 32 million, contributing 45 per cent to the sector.

He said, 'If only half of the 17. 3 million small business owners create a job every year, that would amount to eight million jobs. If well nurtured by ASBON and other relevant agencies, this sector will generate over N800bn annually and pay tax and levies of upward of N60bn to the government annually.

'The sure bet for preparing for the post-petroleum economy is by growing the small business sector. Small businesses need to occupy a prominent place in the post-petroleum economy as oil had pushed Nigeria to a mono-product economy over the years.'

He added that ASBON would serve as a catalyst to help businesses start small and grow big, and contribute to the development of the country.