Inability To Access Bank Funds Barrier to SME's Growth – Unachukwu

Opposes Banks Implementation Of Govt. Policies On SME's

By Anderson Hart

President of Port Harcourt Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, PHCCIMA Engr. Emeka Unachukwu has said the major problem facing the Organised Private Sector is the inability to access fund despite the impressive bank balances of Nigerian banks.

Unachukwu who gave this indication during the inaugural quarterly business roundtable meeting between the Organised Private Sector, OPS and the Rivers state Government at the Banquet hall of the Rivers state Government house lamented over the dwindling fortunes of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SME's in the country saying the government need to do more.

According to him the policies of the Nigerian government is regrettably structured for developed economies and not for an emerging economy that reflects the Nigeria we live and insisted that the SME policies should be well articulated to meet the demand of an emerging economy like ours.

He maintained that the real issue is how to finance the SMEs which obviously forms the crux of the nations real economy even as he observed that it's not enough having a stable economy without having a go at the SME's.

Speaking about policies that affect the SME's and the various challenges, the PHCCIMA helmsman observed that members of the Organised Private Sector are not aware when policies on SMEs are made nor are they aware of what policies banks have for SMEs.

He charged government at all levels to desist from wholly entrusting banks with the mandate of implementing government policies on SMEs drawing his conclusion from the fact that banks normally do it their own way with no leverage in place for SMEs.

In conclusion, he submitted that if government is sincere about encouraging export it should encourage manufacturing through the provision of needed infrastructures, facilities and a conducive environment for business to thrive.

The quarterly business roundtable with the Government of Rivers State held on the 29th of April 2013 was hosted by Governor Chubike Rotimi Amaechi; an initiative of the Rivers State Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the organized private sector and had the theme: “Charting a New Pathway: Strengthening Partnerships between Public and Private Sector.”

The event was a gathering of businessmen and investors from all sectors of the economy within and outside Rivers State. It was structured to provide a platform for frank talk, chilling economic facts, figures, and analysis and an opportunity for the state government to showcase the abundant resources and opportunities available for investors; businessmen and investors. Most importantly it also highlighted and intimated the government of the challenges and obstacles imminent while doing or trying to do business in the state.

Dignitaries in attendance includes the Rivers state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, his deputy, Tele Ikuru, SSG, George Feyii, Commissioners, MD Guaranty Trust Bank plc, J.K Olusegun Agbaje, CEO Nigeria Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema, Co Founder/ Executive Director Sahara Group, Tonye Patrick Cole, - State Commerce and Industry Commissioner., Hon. Chuma Chinye among others.

(From left) PHCCIMA President, Engr. Emeka Unachukwu, - MD GTB plc, Mr. J.K Olusegun Agbaje, - R/S Dep. Gov. Engr. Tele Ikuru, - Executive Gov. R/S, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, - CEO Nigeria Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema, - Co-Founder/Executive Director Sahara Group, Tonye Patrick Cole, - R/S Commerce and Industry Commissioner., Hon. Chuma Chinye and a resource speaker at the event.