Lagos Business School (LBS) faculty, Professor Olawale Ajai has advised that in order to foster the growth and development of SMEs, the Nigerian government need to invest in policies and programmes that induce high productivity and growth, investment climate, infrastructure development, innovation, education, access to finance, and others.
Professor Ajai, who teaches business law and the social and political environment of business at LBS, made this known when he appeared as a guest on the Fidelity Bank SME Forum on broadcast radio station, Inspiration FM.
The Professor, who has been instrumental in the drafting of state and federal legislation, spoke extensively on the impact of Nigeria’s border closure by the Federal Government on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
According to him, “Exports from Nigeria are held up, many traders’ livelihoods are hard hit and Nigerian traders and businesses resident in West African countries are under threat. It may even hit the weak GDP growth rate and recovery of the Nigerian economy. In the long term, the portents are insidious – reduction in innovation, competitiveness, prospects of retaliation and hostility to regionalizing Nigerian brands and businesses. The action demonstrates the fragility of and is a setback to integration efforts in ECOWAS and AU.”
However, he was of the opinion that SMEs who produce locally or sell locally produced goods may benefit from the FG’s directive if they are willing to increase output and improve productivity and product standards. While this presents a myriad of opportunities, it is only SMEs who play in agriculture, agro-allied, manufacturing and distributive trade that can predominantly maximise these benefits.
Advising the government to properly think through policies, Professor Ajai equally suggested that “ingenious diplomacy with neighbouring countries should be engaged to win them to a win-win situation that helps them to grow whilst helping us to do so as well.”
The LBS faculty comprises highly qualified academics and professionals in industry working either full-time or part-time. They bring to the classroom knowledge and practical guidance acquired through a unique combination of research, professional experience, and consulting work done in Nigeria as well as global companies.