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Published On: Tue, Jan 6th, 2015

Entrepreneurs seek favourable policies to revive comatose industries

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CBN bars banksSome entrepreneurs on Tuesday in Lagos appealed to the Federal Government to take critical look on manufacturing and formulate policies that would favour business growth in 2015.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that favourable financial policies would revive many industries now in comatose because the third quarter of 2014 was hectic for industries.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, at its Monetary Policy Committee’s meeting in November 2014, devalued the naira from N155 to N168 against the dollar.

It also increased Monetary Policy Rate from 12 to 13 per cent, and increased the private sector Cash Reserve Ratio from 15 to 20 per cent, among other policy decisions.

Mr David Emokpae, Publicity Secretary, Association of Small and Medium Plastic Manufacturers, said that the high rates before they were further increased impacted negatively on businesses in 2014.

Emokpae noted that double-digit interest rate executed by the CBN in 2014 prevented many entrepreneurs from accessing financial facilities to expand their businesses.

“Interest rate on bank loan was too high for businesses to strive.

“Many businesses could not break-even in the face of various challenges due to inconsistent power supply and inadequate infrastructure.

“Repayment of loans acquired with high interest rate was difficult for majority of operators,” he said.

Mr Adams Tonye, Secretary, Association of Micro, Small and Medium Business Owners, urged specialised banks to increase lending to MSMEs in 2015 as the bedrock of the nation’s economic growth.

Tonye said it would be a relief to majority if stringent conditions constraining entrepreneurs’ from accessing government intervention funds were relaxed in 2015.

He commended the Federal Government for reviewing the conditions limiting entrepreneurs from  accessing the CBN Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises N220 billion intervention fund.

Mrs Hilda Dewari, an economist and Managing Director, Horizon Business Development Ltd., Lagos, said that the depreciation in naira-dollar rates had increased to about 12 per cent in last few weeks.

Dewari said that this was dangerous to the growth of businesses involved in dollar-based trading.

“Many entrepreneurs are either importing raw materials for production or finished parts for assemblage in the country.

“Majority import finished fast moving consumer goods, ranging from clothing and household commodities for sale in Nigeria.

“The American dollar is the major internationally accepted currency in many established and emerging markets of the world.”

“A further naira-dollar exchange rate depreciation will impose financial pressure on entrepreneurs who will be forced to spend more money on importation and increase the retail prices of their goods.

“The adverse effects on average Nigerian consumers are inevitable,” she said.

She appealed to the Federal Government to review the austerity measures put in place to cushion the effect of the dwindling crude prices on the nation’s economy.

She said that some of the measures adversely affected businesses at the third quarter of 2014, adding that some were yet to recover from the shock. (NAN)

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