‘Small scale enterprises can drive the economy’

// Biz | ‘Small scale enterprises can drive the economy’
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

By GAB EJUWA

What is the role of small and medium-sized enterprises in the  economy and how can their prospects be boosted? Mr. Eric Idogun, a public administrator, in an attempt to answer the question, speaks  about SMEs important role.  According to Idogun, the managing director of Pepperoni Foods Ltd, who is also involved in the oil servicing sector, large-scale businesses are not the main drivers  of economic activity but rather small and medium-sized enterprises. Idogun  says  unemployment has been a concern in Nigeria , but SMEs have the capacity to employ a large labor force.
The main challenges to establishing SMEs, according to Idogun, are their inability to secure financing and weak capacities to facilitate governmental procedures, which would  expand their work.

What should be  the role of government regarding  small and medium scale enterprises?
The role of government should cover the provision of power, security, infrastructure, credit opportunities, to mention a few. These would create an enabling environment for businesses to grow and would build confidence in our economy for  indigenous investors. Our people are scared of taking  risk and losing   their investments. However, they would readily partner with a foreign firm to set up shops in Nigeria.

As the governor of Bayelsa State, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan already had a national outlook which was evidenced in his detribalized policies. He made sure that every tourism oriented business in Bayelsa State benefited from his policies irrespective of tribe or religion.

Apart from Bayelsa State under Jonathan, have you benefitted from others?
We have benefitted more from Bayelsa State than other areas of operation. That is not to say we have not got assistance from other state governments. In Bayelsa, we got a loan, the enabling environment, good  people, peace and security, etc. I’m grateful to the people of the state and government for their support.

What is your advice to state governors and agencies?
One of the primary reasons for the high level of unemployment in the country is the absence of viable small and medium scale enterprises. Many businesses have gone awry  along the way and our graduates now go looking for employment in Shell, Elf, Chevron,  etc.

The strength of any economy lies in the value of its small and medium scale industries as this guarantees national growth, thereby bringing down inflation. Government should invest in the real sector. It should provide education so we can have skilled hands at all levels and also create an enabling environment for young businesses to grow. Government, through its agencies, should partner with individuals and firms to create industries and job opportunities for the unemployed.

The Goodluck Jonathan Hospitality Scheme in  Bayelsa State, which I benefitted from in 2006, will help the Nigerian state. Other states should take a cue from this and grow similar industry niches in their local environment.

The role of the Bank of Industry (BOI) should be clearly spelt out. The policies of the CBN relating to small and medium scale enterprises (SME) should be geared towards encouraging sustainability and growth of the industry. This is one of the most productive sectors in terms of employment generation.

What is your advice to other indigenous investors?

There are a lot of untapped opportunities in the small and medium scale industry in our country. If you have a dream or a vision, then go for it. Get professional advice, plan, come up with actual projections and take the plunge. It is our collective responsibility to grow our economy and make our country better and it truly begins with you.

In your case, how did it start?
Pepperoni Foods started in 2005 in Bayelsa State at NTA/Azikoro Road, Yenagoa as a restaurant. We ran it (mama put) for a couple of months until a friend who was special adviser to the governor informed us of a credit facility programme by the then Dr. Goodluck Jonathan government in Bayelsa State.

The programme was aimed at creating an enabling environment and enhancing economic development as well as boosting the hospitality industry in the state through interest free credit facilities .

Our application for the facility was granted and this gave us the opportunity to upgrade the existing small restaurant  to a standard quick service outlet and to equally open a second but purpose built outlet with a bakery at Opolo in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. We not only  leveraged on the facility provided by the Jonathan-led administration but worked closely with the local tourism industry in Bayelsa State and beyond to become the Pepperoni you know today.

How far have you gone in terms of expansion?
We operate in the food processing industry, particularly indoor and outdoor catering to production of food and food related products. Presently, the catering arm of the business have since branched out into other areas . We now have a fully digitalized photo company, a table water company (Xyno waters), a sewage disposal unit (backward integration) , the production of confectionaries especially bread and cake at commercial level. I’m proud to say here that our Bread is the number one selling brand in Bayelsa State, Port Harcourt and Calabar at the moment. And, of course, we are fully into real estate.

What inspired you to go  into this line of business?
From childhood, I have had a strong inclination for cooking. Although, I hold a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Port Harcourt, my heart remained in the food industry. For a while, I consulted with my friend and mentor in the business at Kingfisher Foods in Port Harcourt before I picked up the courage to take off.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. blog comments powered by Disqus
Tagged : Kwara State, London Heathrow Airport, Achebes Body Arrives In Nigeria

Headlines Newsview all

South African Politician Says They Are Attacking Nigerian Men For Snatching Their Wives

South African politician, Makashule Gana, has said some of his compatriots have complained to him that they are angry with Nigerians and other immigrants because ... Full story

Temitope Adebamiro, 35 Year Old Nigerian In The US, Stabs Cheating Husband To Death

A 35-year-old Nigerian woman has been charged with killing her husband, who she claimed abused and cheated on her with several women including her sister ... Full story

Central Bank of Nigeria Asks Banks To Publish The Names Of Debtors By The End Of The Month

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to publish the list of  borrowers whose debts have remained non-performing in ... Full story

Domitilla Star Anne Njemanze's Marriage To Young Lover Collapses 8 Months After Wedding

There are insinuations that Domitilla star, Anne Njemanze's marriage to younger lover, Silver Ojieson, crumbled barely eight months after the union was contracted.Reports shows that ... Full story

SAD: Albinos In East Africa Are Hunted For Their Body Parts For Rituals

The albinos who are born in East Africa are becoming more and more of an endangered specie as they are been hunted for their skin ... Full story

Outgoing Benue Governor, Donates 8 SUVs To Incoming Governor

The outgoing governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, on Thursday donated eight new Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicles to the state governor-elect, Samuel Ortom, his ... Full story

Xenophobia Attacks: Gani Adams, Visits South Africa

The National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, on Thursday visited the Nigerian Embassy in South Africa in support of Nigerians affected by ... Full story

Ten Policemen Detained By Army For Refusing To Wear Uniforms

Ten counter-terrorism police officers attached to the Nigeria army peacekeeping forward operation base in Abuja are currently unlawfully detained at a military barrack in Gwagwalada, ... Full story

Nigerian Troops Get Mandate To Catch Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau Alive

Troops have got another mandate to catch Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau alive. Shekau is believed to have relocated from his bunker before the troops reclaimed ...

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, Named As One Of Seven Outstanding Personalities Worldwide

A global conflict prevention organisation, International Crisis Group, has named the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, as one of seven outstanding personalities worldwide, to ...

Bose Oladimeji: Impecunious Men Have No Place In My Heart

Bose Oladimeji is beginning to get all the attention in the Yoruba film industry, for both her talent and good looks. But Bose, from Kwara ... Full story

Comment on: ‘Small scale enterprises can drive the economy’

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Mercy Johnson & Hubby Stuns At Son's Dedication (Pictures)

Story by Tunde Iyawoyi Last Updated: 3 hours ago Today is Nollywood actress Mercy Johnson's child dedication, Prince Henry. The beautiful actress is looking gorgeous in her ...

Court Freezes Former Federal Lawmaker’s Bank Accounts

Justice Yunusa Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Lagos, capital of Lagos State, has ordered eleven Nigerian banks to freeze the accounts of a ...

Kuforiji-Olubi Cries Foul over British Court's Order Freezing Her Assets

A former Minister of Commerce and Tourism, Chief Bola Kuforiji-Olubi has faulted an asset freezing order purportedly issued against her and some members of her ...

Why Nollywood is not recognized at the Oscars — Afriff Boss

CEO of AFRIFF, Chioma Ude, has revealed the reason Nigerian movies are yet to get much recognition from global film awards and festivals. She revealed this ...

Buhari to Jonathan, Deziani: I will probe NNPC missing $20 billion

Hard time may be awaiting the outgoing government of President Goodluck Jonathan over the alleged missing $20 billion from the coffers of the Nigerian National ...

Why older men tend to be more sexually active than women

Age is no barrier to an active love life, research shows. For among the 70s, more than half of men and almost a third of ...

Tale of 3 Nollywood damsels who dumped their boyfriends

Beautiful, chic, talented and sexy, are the words to describe these three Nollywood damsels, Lizzy Gold Onuwaje, Chiamaka Nwokeukwu and Peggy Onah. They have absolutely ...

Don’t let me die, lady bathed with acid by ex-lover cries

After: Aladi Sule SOS to Kogi govt failed — Brother ALADI Sule lies critically ill at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State. Her body is wrapped ...

Ekiti lawmakers to Fayose: Impunity can’t save you

The 19 All Progressives Congress (APC) members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly yesterday alleged misrepresentation of the proceeding in the ex-parte motion filed ...

80% of Nigerian men want fair-skinned women – SUSAN MAXWELL

Nollywood Actress, Susan Maxwell, made her foray into acting with Isawuru. Since then, she has acted and produced several other movies. Although acting is her ...