Experts in business, finance and NGO’s present at this year’s anniversary lecture held at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, January 9, 2017. The experts agreed that a major strategy to develop SME growth is through a well-structured micro-credit initiative that can aid genuine development and growth of entrepreneurial enterprises in Nigerian.

The former Governor of Ekiti State and current National Vice Chairman, APC, South West, Engr. Segun Oni, joined many other speakers to unequivocal declare that only a sincere assistance in the form of meticulous micro-credit initiative could propel small scale entrepreneurs to growth in business and financial stability.

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In his opening remark, Oni pointed out that “SMEs is an integral part of the national economy and its development is one of the surest ways out of the current economic challenges, but the system must address the question of integrity and fidelity of the stakeholders, most especially, bad debts.”

“In the past, government at various levels tried to use credit facilities for small scale business owners but unfortunately most of the beneficiaries saw it as their own piece of the national cake. They would collect the money without any plan to return it, the worse part of it is that many would collect it and use it on inconsequential things.” He stated.

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Speaking under the main theme; “Driving Entrepreneurship through Micro-Credit Initiatives” the speakers which include; CEO, Gbenga Badejo Consulting, Gbenga Badejo, the Executive Director of Enterprise Development Centre LBS, Peter Bamkole, the DG of Development Agenda of Western Nigeria (DAWN), Dipo Famakinwa.

Other were the Chairman of Aeroland Limited, Segun Adewale and the President, National Association of Microfinance Banks of Nigeria, Valentine Whensu They took turns to establish the fact that, the nation’s conomic recovery can be hastened through entrepreneurial development.

Commenting on the possibility of everyone meeting the criteria of obtaining loan facility in the Micro Finance Bank Institution, Peter Bamkole, was of the opinion that, the integrity of the low and the downtrodden people in the society is enough collateral; “Government and the stakeholders must put in place structure that will endeavour the poor and the downtrodden people who they know and are sure of their personalities to be able to use their integrities as collaterals in obtaining small and feasible loan facilities to boost their businesses.” He said.

Segun Adewale, in his speech which is centred on his personal experience in starting a business for no-capital base blamed the lack of political will by the country’s leadership to help the poor and small scale business owners. According to him, it is only a few people that can experience his situation and still make it in life.

“Nigerian system does not encourage a beginner; the structures are not there, what I faced as a young undergraduate was pathetic. I did all sort of menial works to establish and ensure my company is registered and well footed; we need to go to the basics and see how it is done elsewhere.” He declared.

Valentine Whensu stressed that for the country to drive employment and job creation, government at all levels must do a lot to genuinely develop the quantity and quality of the nation’s entrepreneurs.

“Our educational policies must be re-structured. Entrepreneurs and government agencies should revisit the taxation policy because there is a lot of duplication of tax from the Local to Federal government arms. Too many taxes discourage savings and kills business.” He said.

Meanwhile, in his earlier welcome address, the group’s helmsman, Captain Wole Olagunsoye reiterated that the lecture is based on the objectives of achieving certain ideas and initiatives that can positively influence policies in the public and private sector towards a greater Nigeria. He said this year’s topic was inspired by difficulties businesses contend with as a result of the present financial situation.