The Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Export Group (NEG), has stressed the need for government to support cooperative societies to ease Small and Medium scale Entrepreneurs (SMEs’) access to finance to expand their businesses.
The group maintained that it is when the cooperative members have access to finance and expand their businesses that they can contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as more human and material resources would be needed.Global Convener and Chairman, NEG, Kola Awe, who said this during the induction of the NEG Cooperative Society, in Lagos, noted that for cooperatives to thrive in Nigeria, both the Federal and state governments must review policies and laws that bother on cooperative ventures.He explained that the proposed NACCIMA Processing Plan (NPP), and Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), would boost economic growth through development of local content.
Awe said the NPP, which is the focal project of the Cooperative, comes at an opportune time following the proposed implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which would open Africa to a common market.“We need a product based facility centre, knowing that the Nigerian market is dominated by micro and small enterprises. If we do not develop them in knowledge to increase their capacity in the areas of raw materials and packaging, they will face a lot of challenges when the AfCFTA is implemented.
“Before the AfCFTA is implemented, we want to through the cooperative, position local products to favourably compete at the international level. Funding of the NPP would be generated by the cooperative so that members can have access to high tech equipment and quality materials to encourage competitiveness on the international scale,” Awe said.
Earlier, President of the NEG Cooperative, Aniete Bassey, submitted that the cooperative would serve as bedrock to financial support and partnership, which is crucial to bearing the high cost of finance needed to attain optimal performance at the international level.
“Nigeria has all it takes to compete favourably in the international community. Take the world stage for example; there is a good Nigerian in every field. The cooperative, through the special project vehicle would enhance service delivery by promoting and facilitating quality branding to meet international standard,” he said.
Bassey added that the Cooperative will among other, facilitate and promote education as part of its corporate social responsibility.“It is the duty of every citizen to take care of their country. So, at NEG Cooperative, 2.5 per cent is contributed to the Education Fund. And as individuals, if we find that a child is brilliant and needs assistance, we can issue scholarships.”
Commenting, the Onigbogbo Area Officer of the Cooperative society, Segun Odedina, urged government to come up with grants for cooperative societies with the assurance that they would transform same into value for economic growth and development.
He said, “Government should give support in all ramifications to cooperatives because most economies in the world thrive by cooperatives ventures, and they should trust cooperative societies in Nigeria because it is self generated and self sustained.”