On Wednesday, 18th August, 2016, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) attended the Nigerian Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME) stakeholders’ forum with major regulatory Agencies in Nigeria. The event which took place at Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) House, Ikeja, Lagos State was well attended by various regulatory Agencies in Nigeria including Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and National Office for Technology Acquisition & Promotion (NOTAP). These organizations made presentations in their relevant fields.
The event started with discussions regarding the low World Bank Ranking Index of Ease of Doing Business, with the latest report placing Nigeria at 169 out of 189 countries. The NASME President, Sir (Prince) ‘Degun AGBOADE in his welcome address regretted “the country’s very low ranking by the World Bank on Ease of Doing Business Index. He therefore admonished the regulatory agencies to see it as a challenge which can be addressed by taking a critical look at all the policies and be ready to fine tune or adjust as appropriate any one retarding business growth”. He equally called for cordial relationship between the MSMEs and the regulatory agencies in order to achieve a sustained economic growth and development.
Members of Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (NASME) agreed that the low ranking was disturbing and unhealthy for the economy, with negative consequences for the operators of MSMEs. After a thorough analysis of the situation, they acknowledged regulatory agencies as one of the critical public sector stakeholders’ that could assist in reducing these persistent challenges faced by MSMEs in their day – to – day business operations in order to improve Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business ranking among its peers.
Amongst other decisions and recommendations, the August gathering agreed that:
- The ease of doing business in Nigeria should be taken into consideration by all regulatory agencies for MSMEs
- NASME shall collaborate with regulatory agencies to enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria
- An MSME desk be established by all regulatory agencies to cater for the needs of MSMEs in Nigeria
- A Commission be put in place to harmonise and cater for all regulatory and certification needs of MSMEs in all States of the Federation; It will not require the establishment of an independent agency or office but rather the use of facilities that are already in place.
- There is the need to prevent poverty in old age; micropension should be a part of doing business as MSMEs in Nigeria
- NASME be recognized by regulatory agencies for the purpose of providing incentives, discounts and concessions for MSMEs
- Private sector engagement by NOTAP to encourage intellectual property cannot be overemphasized and as such NOTAP should engage private sector businesses in patent registration.
- Standards, certifications and compliance are necessary for businesses; So SON, NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies involved should harmonize their transactions so that it can be cost effective for MSMEs in Nigeria.
- A committee be setup in NASME to act as intermediary on extension services for MSMEs