The Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, owners in Gwagwalada Area Council, FCT, on Thursday, implored the Federal Government and commercial banks to provide them with soft loans to boost their businesses.
According to them, SMEs contribute significantly to the growth and development of the nation’s economy, and therefore, requires adequate financial assistance.
Mr Peter Samuel, who is into the production of shoes and leather bags in Gwagwalada market, said he could export his products to neighbouring countries, if adequately funded.
“My products are good, made with quality materials and fit for exportation but my challenge is finance.
“If I can have access to loans, I will embark on mass production and export my products to neighboring countries.
“We want the government or banks to assist us with soft loans so that our business can grow better,’’ he said.
The SMEs owners made this appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Gwagwalada.
Miss Hannatu Gimba, a producer of tropical black soap, said that her product was of good quality and could compete with similar products anywhere in the world.
She, however, decried the fees imposed on them as a precondition for registration by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON.
Gimba also said that her product had good patronage but had not spread fast because she could not afford the charge for NAFDAC registration number.
She called on the government to give soft loans to SMEs owners to enable them register their goods so as to grow their businesses.
Mrs Anita Lafia, who sells foodstuffs such as beans, plantain flour and tiger nuts, said that her major challenge was the inability to access loan facilities.
Lafia said that some entrepreneurs were not always given the chance to showcase their products during trade fairs due to high cost of space.
“There is a processing machine that is sold for N400, 000 and it is very important in my kind of business but I cannot afford it.
“I was not able to pay for a space at the last trade fair in Abuja because of the high cost, and we found it difficult to showcase our products.
“If I can access any soft loan, I will buy that machine and my business will start growing,” she said.
She, however, lamented the paucity of funds that had affected the growth of her business, and urged the Federal Government and commercial banks to assist entrepreneurs with soft loans.