THE Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to explore financing options for small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs). During a courtesy visit to the NSE on Monday, in Lagos, President of LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, said SMEs are critical to economic development especially in creation of jobs and the promotion of inclusiveness in the Nigerian economy. He called for mobilization of capital for investors especially the indigenous ones, adding that the costs of fund in money market as well as tenure of funds are not in tune with the yearnings of entrepreneurs and investors, especially those with long term perspective. Ruwase stated: “Funding SMEs remains a major challenge in our economy. It has been difficult to unlock the potentials in the sector partly as a result of this problem. This has constrained the growth of key sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, property, construction, infrastructure etc. All these sectors need affordable long term funds.
The capital market window naturally provides the good option for funding of such investments. We would like to see a better impact of this funding window. There is also need to collectively strengthen advocacy to make pension funds available for long term financing needs of the economy.” He noted that monetary, fiscal and trade policies have significant impact on the performance of the stock market and private sector investments generally. “It will be useful for us to collaborate to promote investment friendly policies in the economy through regular engagements with the relevant authorities of government. We need to attract more private capital (domestic and foreign) into this economy, especially now that it is obvious that the government does not have the financial resources to fix the economy. “There are several other areas in which we can collaborate especially in sharing information. It is our hope that this interaction will occur more frequently so that together we can deliberate on response strategies to emerging challenges in the economy,” he said.