‘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

I Only Prefer Younger Men - Elvina Ibru

“I only date younger men! I'm not interested in older men. One of the reasons is that they are all married, and secondly they all ... Full story

Barack Obama Praises GEJ For Accepting Defeat In Elections

US president Barack Obama has praised outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan, for conceding defeat in the recently concluded presidential elections. USA Today reports that Obama gave the ... Full story

Nigerian President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari Hails His Victory As A Vote For Change Video

The winner of Nigeria's presidential poll, Muhammadu Buhari, has hailed his victory as a vote for change and proof the nation has embraced democracy. Mr Buhari ... Full story

Wind Of Change Can Blow You Out If You Don't Do Well - Seun Kuti To Buhari

Late Fela Anikulapo’s son, Seun Kuti took to twitter this morning to commend the youths for voting for change, and also warned the newly elected ... Full story

Baby With Elephant Trunk Worshipped As God

A baby girl born with an “elephant trunk” is being worshipped as a Hindu god in a village in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in northern India.The ... Full story

Olusegun Obasanjo Cheer Buhari, Assign Him On Reunion

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo who has publicly shown his support for Major-General Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the elections, has congratulated him over his victory. In a ... Full story

I Kept My Word On Violent Free Elections - Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has told his supporters and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rather celebrate and not mourn because he has kept his word ... Full story

Goodluck Jonathan Concedes Defeat, Congratulates Buhari

President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on his victory in the Saturday’s presidential election. A top ... Full story

Muhammadu Buhari Wins Nigeria's 2015 Presidential Election

Election commission declares victory for former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, over incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria's election commission has declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the country's ... Full story

Analyst Project Muhammadu Buhari As President-Elect With 95% Polling Units Collated

Political Analyst project Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of last weekend’s presidential election based on collated poll results from ... Full story

PDP Wins Presidential Elections In Rivers State

Prof. John is RO of Rivers state LGAs: 23 NO of POLITICAL PARTIES: 14 REG. VOTERS: 2,324,300 ACCR VOTERS: 1,643,409 AA: 1066 AD: 1104 ACPN:525 ADC:1031 APA:513 APC:69,238 CPP:577 HOPE:542 KOWA:2274 NCP:565 PDP:1,487,075 PPN:492 UDP:303 UPP:156   ... Full story

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

Rate this article

0

Featured author

chuky01

Breaking News

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President-Elect Dropped As VP…The Tinubu’s Connection!

Prof Yemi OsinbajoBefore now, Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly raised an alarm that the position of Vice President brought up by Asiwaju Bola ...

Alex Eyengho Mocks Jonathan’s Jobbers In Nollywood

A prominent producer in Nollywood, Alex Eyengho, has slammed some of his colleagues, who he said turned themselves into servants of President Goodluck Jonathan prior ...

Why I Only Date Younger Men—Elvina Ibru Speaks

“I only date younger men! I'm not interested in older men. One of the reasons is that they are all married, and secondly they all ...

Godsday Orubebe Begs Nigerians Over Shameful Display

Who says entertainment is not a tonic for the soul? At least, sometimes, it helps to ease tension. Even politicians know the importance of the industry ...

Gareth Bale Becomes Fastest Player On Earth (FULL LIST)

Former Tottenham Hotspur player and wales man has been name as the fastest player on earth, beating Rinaldo, Theo Walcott and others …. See full list ... Full story

Rita Dominic, Asa, 2Face, Don Jazzy, Others Congratulate Buhari, Jonathan

Since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Muhammadu Buhari as winner of the presidential election held last Saturday, more entertainers have continued to send ...

Darey Art Alade, Dede Mabiaku ‘Doze Off’ During Nigerian Idol Show

Two judges on the on-going Nigerian Idol Season 5 reality show; Dede Mabiaku, an Afrobeat maestro and Darey Art Alade, an RnB star in Nigeria, ...

Ships With Petroleum Products Arrive Lagos Ports

Eight ships laden with petrol, aviation fuel and kerosene had arrived Lagos ports, waiting to berth. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) stated this in its daily ... Full story

Ice Prince Meets Jay Z, Plans Collabo

Something big seems to be cooking in the life of Nigerian rap star, Ice Prince. The Chocolate City artiste recently uploaded a photo of himself ...

Why I Dress Poorly Most Times—Mavin Records Star, Reekado Banks

Reekado Banks is one young and budding music act that is fast winning the hearts of music lovers, home and abroad. The Mavin Records singer, who ...