Kwara SMEs negative, still struggling – Oladotun

...says Kwara Bureau of SMEs imminence

By Mike Adeyemi

The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs), Kwara State chapter have described the out gone year as devastated and negative for operators in the state.

The state chairman of Kwara SMEs, Arc. Sakirudeen Oladotun stated this on Saturday while answering questions from our reporter in his office.

According to him, ‘SMEs operators in the state are trying to pick the pieces of their businesses together after coming out from the brunt effect of global pandemic’.

“The out gone year 2021 was just probably a year after a downtown in the economy globally. And as a result of economic lockdown, the effect of the lockdown WS what we experience last year.

“There is a global supply price crisis that puts a lit of strains on our logistics and import related businesses. Beyond that, I think the SMEs in Kwara State are still struggling,” Oladotun said.

He added that despite the interventions by the State Government and Federal Government on SMEs growth , the impact of it was not well felt, saying it was like a drop in the ocean.

“Although there was a lot of intervention and cushion by the Federal Government and State Government through some organizations. But some of this is still drop in the ocean for SMEs in Kwara state.

“Kwara SMEs is negative as at last year as the impact of the pandemic has a very devastating effect on SMEs operators in the state.

“Some of these people had to stay indoor for more than six months as millions of naira have been lost to that. We are just trying to pick the pieces of our businesses together.

“Parts of the factor that has negative effect on businesses was that of Efex. As we speak dollar is traded for N650. It has lot of devastating implications purchasing power of an average Nigerians. All these puts a lot of strain on SMEs.

“With all these pictures have painted, SMEs growth in Kwara State is at negative. But entrepreneur takes beat advantage of every situation, because you can’t say you are going to close shop,” the Kwara SMEs boss stressed.

When asked to project the economic atmospheric outlook of 2022, Oladotun said there is no end in sight to global economic crisis, but saying his organization will tap on import substitution as Kwara is bless with agro products.

“The global economic crisis may still lingers till perhaps the third quarter of this year. From the outlook of things, there is going to be bottlenecks in the import related business this year.

“But for us in Kwara that will not deter us. We have to look where we actually could deliver on import substitution, because Kwara is bless with agro products.

“We want see our people not just cultivating for export or for direct consumption, but we want to see lot of kwarans going into processing.

“That was why during the last trade fair we were able to identified entrepreneurs who are actually into agro processing. We are trying to put them together and provide platform for them to be able to scale up what they are doing,” he assured.

Oladotun however assured the people of the state that all is not doom in the SMEs sector in the state as effort is at top gear toward the establishment of Kwara State Bureau of SMEs, an agency to promote entrepreneurship at the level of SMEs in the state.

“We are having some level of synergy with the government part of it was the ease of doing business initiative. That is one of the area through which the government is putting something down for the business community.

“Too, the law to establish the Bureau of SMEs has passed the second reading at the Kwara State House of Assembly. Probably very soon we are going to have Kwara State Bureau of SMEs. The essence of such Bureau is to promote entrepreneurship especially at the level of SMEs, ” Oladotun affirmed.

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