FORUM COMMUNIQUE

SMEs Will Stimulate The Growth And Development Of The Nigerian Economy If Properly Galvanized And Harnessed – LAPO Forum

A communiqué issued at the end of the 24thAnnual LAPO Development Forum held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos State on Wednesday, October 18, 2017. Theme: Galvanizing SMEs Towards Inclusive Development.

PREAMBLE

The 24thedition of the Annual LAPO Development Forum, organized by Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO), a not-for-profit development organization was held in Lagos under the theme: “Galvanizing SMEs for Inclusive Development.”

The Forum, chaired by Professor Pat. Utomi, a notable Political Economist and Management Expert was attended by key players in the financial sector, Civil Society Organisations, development institutions, government agencies, operators of micro, small and medium enterprises, policy makers, academic institutions and other critical stakeholders.

Following exhaustive discussions of the keynote paper by the Chairman of HEIRS Holdings and the United Bank for Africa, Mr. Tony Elumelu, CON who was represented by Mr Adim Jibunoh, President/CEO, Transcorp Group, the Forum came up with the following 10-point communiqué as encapsulated below:

1.            The participants commended LAPO for sustaining the Annual LAPO Development Forum since 1994, supporting over three million micro entrepreneurs with the sum of N96.1billionbetween January and August 2017 alone, and for providing 7,661 Nigerianswith gainful employment.

2.            The Forum affirmed that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) possess great potentials and capacity to stimulate the desired growth and development of the Nigerian economy if properly galvanized and harnessed.

3.            It identified unfriendly business environment, poor management, inadequate funding, policy inconsistenciesas some of the issues inhibiting the performance of SMEs in Nigeria, noting that weak institutions pose a significant drag on the nation's economic growth and development.

4.             The LAPO Forum stressed the need for government at all levels to prioritise and create enabling environment for doing business, create institutional support for SME growth as well as strengthen all institutions and regulatory authorities that have involvements on the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

5.            The participants called for a more coordinated effort by all stakeholders to galvanize SMEs towards inclusive development just as it canvassed transparency and accountability at all levels of government to enable SMEs thrive.

6.            The Forum advocated for the adoption of the principles of entrepreneurship in order to make SME work, just as it called on Nigerians to develop and domesticate entrepreneurship culture.

7.            It urged government at all levels to create and sustain enabling environment for youth engagement in SMEs.

8.            Participants canvassed increased public-private partnership and shared purpose to drive SME development in Nigeria even as it urged the private sector to take the leading role.

9.            The LAPO Forum urged government and relevant agencies to develop Legal and Regulatory framework to ensure the sustenance and growth of SMEs in Nigeria.

10. Participants noted that the growth and development of SMEs would galvanise resources for wealth creation to sustain the soaring population forecast that Nigeria might likely double its current population and overtake the U.S by 2050.

 

Sabina Idowu-Osehobo                                               Godwin Ehigiamusoe PhD

Executive Director                                                       Founder

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