Expert calls for involvement of SMEs in public procurement to grow businesses

A business expert, Mrs Olanrewaju Oniyitan, has urged the Federal Government to involve Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) in public procurement to spur the growth of businesses.

Oniyitan, Managing Director, Wholistic Business Solution Ltd, and a Business Development Service Provider for Bank of Industry (BoI), made the suggestion at BoI’s Customer Engagement Forum on Friday in Lagos.

She spoke on the topic, “Growing SMEs in Lagos and Ogun Region.”

According to her, linking public procurement and SMEs through policy will spur the growth of businesses and serve as an incentive to register and formalise the SMEs sector.

“Government is the biggest purchaser of goods and services, making it an attractive client that can support SME growth.

“If SMEs have at least 10 per cent of government’s spending, more jobs would be created, contribution to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) will increase and the economy will benefit tremendously,” she said.

Oniyitan also urged the government to create incentives that would encourage large enterprises to integrate SMEs in their business value chain.

She also urged the government to check dumping of cheap and substandard imported goods which discouraged local producers.

According to her, government’s effort at improving the ease of doing business should not be restricted to improving the index ranking, but to impact positively on businesses.

“We need to have a separate tax and regulatory regimes for SMEs, if we want them to grow sustainably,” she said.

Oniyitan urged the SMEs in Lagos and Ogun to explore the human, natural resources, opportunities of growing industrial zones and presence of seaports to facilitate export of their goods.

Mr Akinsola Adetokunbo, Lagos Regional Head, BoI, said that BoI would continue to support innovative ideas to create significant jobs geared towards facilitating robust and integrated economic growth.

Adetokunbo said that the bank’s strategic partnership of matching funds with various state governments, agencies and rich individuals was designed to enable SMEs get loan five per cent interest rate .

Mr Olufemi Olaoluwa, Director, Industrial Promotion, Ogun State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that driving growth of SMEs was vital to employment, wealth creation and sustainable socio-economic development.