The recent spotlight on local manufacturers through government initiatives, such as the Made-in-Nigeria Dress Days and an Executive Order compelling state agencies to direct at 40% of procurement to Made-in-Nigeria goods and services, has been seen as boost for local manufacturers.
Magnus Nmonwu, Regional Director for Sage in West Africa, said in Lagos Thursday, May 25 that a strong government push to encourage Nigerians to support locally made goods and services will help encourage entrepreneurship, which in turn could help spur diversification of the economy, create local jobs, and decrease unemployment.
Nmonwu said small businesses and start-ups are the engines that will power Nigeria’s growth into the future and advocated that they should be supported.
“The sooner we start supporting our proudly Nigerian suppliers and service providers, the better for us. With our support, they can create wealth and jobs for the country, and many of them could grow into globally competitive exporters.”
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Speaking on the theme “Building a better Africa and a better world”, he revealed that Sage, a market and technology leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, would support initiatives to put business information and tools online to help entrepreneurs build their skills and access the resources they need to be successful
“Local service providers and manufacturers could play an important role in the revival of Nigeria’s economy,” he said, adding: “We welcome the effort to encourage industrialisation and diversify the economy from commodities into new areas. Strong local demand is the foundation of a manufacturing sector that can grow into an export industry.”
According to him, government is putting its money where its mouth is with the recent Executive Order and giving the public a good example to follow.
He however, call on the public sector to do more to encourage the growth of small businesses in Nigeria by implementing tax incentives for local producers, supporting in accessing finance, and facilitating mentoring and skills development programmes between small business and bigger companies.
“Government should encourage small businesses to adopt business software so that they can improve regulatory compliance and financial controls. This could also help in tracking the performance of those that benefit from state loans and incentives, and hold them accountable,” Nmonwu advised.
Infrastructure investment across roads, power, communications and ports are also important in spurring development of local industry, he said.
“There is enormous scope for government and the private sector to cooperate on creating polices and infrastructure that create an enabling environment for Nigeria’s business builders.
“Sage would support initiatives to put business information and tools online to help entrepreneurs build their skills and access the resources they need to be successful. Another good idea might be for government to put together advisory boards with representatives from big businesses, small companies, the government and other stakeholders to understand the voice of small business and develop appropriate policies to help drive them,” he said.