#LBC2023: Government Should Create A Business Enabling Environment for the Growth of Small-Scale Businesses In Nigeria – Panelists

The business environment plays a crucial role in fostering economic growth and attracting investments in any country. Small-scale businesses play a crucial role in driving economic growth, creating employment opportunities, and fostering innovation in Nigeria. However, these enterprises often face numerous challenges, inhibiting their potential for growth and contribution to the national economy.

Mr Oguntoye called on the Federal and State Governments to create an enabling environment for the growth of small-scale businesses and start-ups in Nigeria. One of the primary obstacles faced by small businesses is limited access to finance. The Federal Government should work towards establishing specialized financial institutions and facilitating partnerships with private banks to provide affordable credit and financial assistance tailored to the needs of small-scale businesses. Additionally, tax incentives and subsidies should be introduced to encourage investment in these enterprises.

This was said at the 2023 Legal Business Conference held on Thursday, 27 July at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos during the 3rd plenary session which was titled “Business Enabling Environment: Is Nigeria getting it right?”. The session examined the current state of Nigeria’s business enabling environment and considered key factors such as infrastructure, regulatory framework, ease of doing business, government policies and Investment climate.

Damilola Aloba, a strategy and Transaction Partner/ Consumer Industries Group Leader for West Africa, Ernst and Young , stressed the need for government to enable a business-friendly environment in the nation. He suggested that there should be proper funding for startups and easy access to finance from banks. He noted that burdensome and complex regulations often stifle the growth of small businesses. Streamlining and simplifying the regulatory framework can significantly reduce compliance costs and administrative burdens. The government should explore implementing digital platforms to facilitate easier business registration, licensing, and permit processes.

Toyin Bashir, Partner at Banwo & Ighodalo also called on the government to provide support for Research and Innovation because Investing in research and development is crucial for driving innovation and competitiveness among small businesses. The government should establish grants, funding schemes, and partnerships with research institutions to encourage innovation and the adoption of modern technologies.

Another Panelist, Morayo Adebayo, Technical Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), advocated for self-regulation, stating that it would make it easier for the government to provide the necessary support. She frowned at the exploitation by some online money lenders who extort the SMEs and Startup Businesses in Nigeria.

Zephia Ovia-Ikem, Product Strategy and Operations Specialist at Paystack  advocated for incentives for Youth and Women Entrepreneurs. While recognizing the potential of young and women entrepreneurs, she noted that the government should implement specific incentives and programs tailored to their needs. These could include special funding opportunities, training initiatives, and reserved quotas for government procurement.

To create a business enabling environment in Nigeria, the panelists advocated for self-regulation for businesses, stronger collaboration for businesses, quota system, zero tolerance for corruption, proper digitalization, political will from all the tiers of government, and better remuneration.

Creating a more enabling environment for the growth of small-scale businesses in Nigeria requires the active involvement and commitment of the Federal Government. By addressing issues related to finance, regulation, infrastructure, innovation, market access, capacity-building, and inclusivity, the government can unlock the full potential of small businesses, leading to a more vibrant and resilient national economy.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Powering Tomorrow’s Economy Today”.