Budget: Group Commends FG on Provisions for SMEs

Enugu Coalition of Business and Professional Associations (ECOBPA) has lauded the Federal Government for various provisions in the 2017 Budget meant to facilitate the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Coordinator of the group, Emeka Okereke, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Friday.

Okereke commended the Federal Government for using the SMEs as a tool to boost the economy and get the nation out of recession.

“The Federal Government budgeting N15 billion for the recapitalisation of the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Bank of Agriculture (BoA) is highly commendable, especially as the two institutions are the major financiers of SMEs with marginal interest rate.

“Also, the additional 1.3 billion dollars for the commencement of the Development Bank of Nigeria is a welcome development as this will strengthen the SMEs, manufacturing sector as well as the agricultural sector,’’ he said.

The coordinator also said that the Federal Government had made a historic allocation to agriculture in the 2017 budget.

“It should be noted that for the first time in history, agriculture received a high allocation of N92 billion to aggravate efforts toward enhancing the agricultural sector,’’ he said.

According to him, the Federal Government should be commended for its plan to reduce tax revenue from non-oil sector (SMEs) from N1.45 trillion in 2016 to N1.37 trillion in 2017, representing 5.5 per cent reduction.

Okereke said that all the right measures would improve the economy and drive entrepreneurs into production of goods and services in 2017.

He, however, advised the Federal Government to also review existing policies that were not creating conducive environment for SMEs, which ought to be engine room of economic growth, to strive in the country.

ECOBPA comprises 32 business and professional associations within Enugu State.