By Iwezua Goodness and Ikenna Uwadileke
Exhibitors at the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Summit in Abuja, expressed satisfaction with the organization of this year’s edition of the exhibition.
The annual event is meant to promote and develop the potential of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
The event, organised by Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), also seeks to reposition MSMEs for opportunities provided by African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this year’s event, the 18th in the series, has at its theme: Positioning MSMEs for African Continental Free Trade Agreement Opportunities.
Some of the exhibitors during interviews with NAN commended NASME for promoting and encouraging the upscale of made-in-Nigeria goods and services.
They, however, pointed out the need for measures that would guarantee easy access to grants and funding, saying that they were critical components in growing and sustaining their businesses.
According to Mr Aduna Ahmed, Manager, A and A Venture, dealers in foodstuff, said that improved product quality for business growth is achievable through easy access to grants and funds.
“The exhibition has yielded a lot of positive results. Therefore it is necessary to maintain its impact on our businesses.
“The only way we can continue to remain relevant is when we are given proper access to funds at lower interest rate,’’ he said.
Aduna said t the summit had enabled him to secure future deals and network with other businesses in Nigeria.
“This summit is not boosting immediate sales alone but creating an avenue for the world to see what can be achieved if the importance of MSMEs is fully recognised.
“It is a show of our capabilities when given proper support and encouragement to go above certain limitations,’’ he added.
Mrs Nina Adebayo, Chief Executive Officer, Ade’s Textile and Print, a local company which produces Adire and wax-printed fabrics, commended NASMEs efforts at uniting SMEs nationwide and fostering partnerships.
“Since the exhibition started we have recorded small businesses from Lagos, Nasarawa, Aba and other places. It is good to interact and broker deals.
“This event has exposed me to how best I can tap into the benefits offered by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement,’’ she said.
Adebayo, however solicited governments’ support for improved quality of products and services.
Mr Innocent Enench, CEO, Footwork, said the event had provided him with the needed support to make his works become more competitive.
“I am happy to be a part of this year’s exhibition and I am going home not only with money made but with a whole lot of lessons learnt.
“There is a need to develop holistic measures that will effectively tackle the challenges of small businesses in Nigeria, which will elongate life expectancy,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Miss Florence Ubiaka, Director of Flora Interior urged government at all levels to sustain efforts geared towards promoting MSMEs, describing them as bedrock of a country’s economy.
“The Federal Government should advocate the growth of businesses in the country. It is time to match words with action to ensure that we don’t miss out of opportunities provided internationally.
“The creation of opportunities like AfCFTA, if properly utilised will catapult our economy to the top,” she said.
Ubiaka commended the efforts of the organisers of the MSME summit in catering for the exhibitors’ essential needs and ensuring comfortability.
Similarly, Mrs Jovita Iroeme, National President, Association of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners said she was impressed with the quality of goods displayed at the show.
“I am impressed from what I saw and I can see that of lots of women here and with this spirit we can get stronger,’’ Iroeme said.
Iroeme canvassed that the summit be replicated in the 36 states of the federation
“Make it as rural as possible because when you see the quality of things produced here with bare hands you get amazed. We need machines to produce in commercial quantities,’’ she said. (NAN)