The Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Initiative (SEEDi), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has expressed concern over the challenge of corruption faced by Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), describing it as a threat to Nigeria’s long-term development.
Mr Celestine Okeke, Lead Partner of SEEDi said this in Abuja during the presentation of report on a document: “Stolen Dreams: How Corruption Negates Government Support for Nigeria’s Small Businesses.”
Okeke said corruption was endemic within Nigeria government agencies and among the programmes meant to help MSMEs.
“Such corruption has become routine widespread and it has toxic effects on Africa’s largest economy and most strategically important nation.
“Left unchecked, this financial malfeasance will undermine the resilience and long-term prospects of Nigeria’s MSMEs,’’ he said.
Okeke said that to rebuild and improve the effectiveness of MSMEs programmes, the government needed to cooperate closely with organised private sector entities.
He said that unless the government reformed its programmes, the future potential of small businesses to boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP), end unemployment among youths, generate tax revenue and stabilise post conflict areas would remain limited.
“Many of these reforms will not only require presidential and ministerial leadership, but carefully legislative remedies as well,” Okeke said.
He emphasised the need for government to tackle obvious problems like multiple taxation, retail corruption and antiquated land tenure laws.
Other problems he listed were over-regulation of the country’s decaying power and transportation infrastructure.
According to him, instead of giving even larger sums to corruption-prone palliative agencies, the government should undertake preventative regulatory measure to make it easier for struggling businesses to stay afloat.
He said that the objectives of the meeting were to frame the challenges small businesses were facing and to also identify key actors responsible for addressing same.
He said that the meeting would also develop the next action plans on addressing corruption red flags in government financing and support of small businesses.