96% of businesses operating in Nigeria not registered – SMEDAN

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Uba Group

VICTORIA ONU, ABUJA

THE Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria has disclosed that about 40 million businesses operating in Nigeria are not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

SMEDAN said this just as it claimed that its attempts to partner with state governments to create more wealth for citizens, through Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, were being frustrated.

The 40 million unregistered businesses, according to the agency, represents 96 per cent of businesses operating in Nigeria.

The Director-General of SMEDAN, Umar Radda, said this when he defended the agency’s 2021 budget proposal before the House of Representatives Committee on Poverty Alleviation.

Radda lamented that SMEDAN’s empowerment drive had not yielded the desired results as some states were not showing interest in the programme.

“The efforts (empowerment) are not working very well because some of them (states) are not showing any interest, while others would say they do not have such arrangements in their budgets,” he said.

He noted that with the new Central Bank of Nigeria’s share capital requirement, N200m would be the minimum start-up capital for a microfinance bank, beginning from 2022.

Radda also told the committee that SMEDAN’s microfinance bank for SMEs was ready, with the establishment of a branch in Abuja on a pilot scheme.

He, however, decried that of the N1.3bn earmarked for the pilot project in Abuja last year, only N40m was released.

Speaking on the perceived duplication of roles between SMEDAN and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs’ Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme, Radda insisted that they were doing different things.

According to him, SMEDAN’s conditional cash grant is specifically targeted as motivation to help SMEs’ formalisation processes, as well as capacity building for owners.

He said, “The N50,000 Conditional Cash Grant Scheme is a form of motivation for SMEs.

“From the grant, we assist them to register their businesses with the CAC, create a microinsurance cover for one year for their businesses, and we also train them, including on how to keep records of their businesses.”