Stakeholders commend new foreign exchange (FX) for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country have commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for creating a special foreign exchange (FX) window for operators in the sector.
The stakeholders, who lauded the initiative, urged the CBN to ensure proper implementation and ease of dollar access to owners of small businesses.
“The policy is a welcome development, but the problem we have is implementation. If there is good implementation, it will be beneficial to the SMEs,” said John Kachikwu, chairman, SME Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in a telephone interview.
“We all saw what happened with the Manufacturers’ Special Window created before. Policy somersault is a big problem in Nigeria,” Kachikwu said.
The CBN recently floated a new SME window to enable small businesses import eligible finished and semi-finished items not exceeding $20,000 for an enterprise each quarter. The apex bank said it floated it due to its findings that large enterprises were crowding out SMEs.
“CBN is not monitoring the money deposit banks as they should,” said Kachikwu.
“It is a very good initiative but the question is, would the dollar flow be sustainable?” asked Abudul Rasheed Yerima, deputy president, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME).
Yerima noted that it was a good initiative, urging the government to ensure that it was sustained and well implemented.
According to industry players, the initiative would ensure SMEs get the needed dollars to purchase equipment for and inputs that cannot be sourced locally.
Frank Jacobs, president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), this was a step in the right direction. “We are happy that the CBN has created a special window for SMEs. We believe it’s the way to go,” Jacobs told Start-Up Digest.
Friday Opara, director- strategic partnership, Small and Medium Enterprises Development of Nigeria (SMEDAN), said: “It is a very good initiative. It would truly help us in terms of getting equipment and some inputs we cannot source locally.”
SMEs make up over 90 percent of Nigerian enterprises, contributing 47 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). Small business owners range from pepper sellers to owners of cosmetic stores.