A New Rescue Package for Nigeria
When the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria recently declared that about 60 per cent of collapsed businesses went under due to irregular power supply, many critics thought it was an exaggeration. But the claim of operators of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, was confirmed by Frank Jacobs, national president, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, who declared recently that energy constituted about 40 per cent of production cost to manufacturers in the country. Invariably, this means that SMEs, the engine of the economy, suffering acute energy shortage contributes to the dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian economy, hindering it from joining the league of the top 20 economies in the world.
However, the plans of the Turkish presidency, which is the host of the Group 20, G20, from November 15 to 16, 2015, may change the fortunes of SMEs and the Nigerian economy. Top on its agenda is to bring a strong Low Income Development Countries, LIDCs, perspective into the different G20 work streams and Nigeria is one of them. How? Ayse Sinirlioglu, one of the coordinators of 2015 Turkey G20, told the magazine that access to regular energy with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa would be part of the deliberations of the global leaders in November. Also, the ambassador of Turkey G20 disclosed that the host country will host the first G20 energy ministers meeting in Istanbul, the commercial centre of the country, by the end of September, 2015 and access to energy in the region, especially Nigeria, will be one of the primary agenda of the meeting.
That is not all. Integrating the SMEs into the global economy is high on the priority list of the world leaders as they meet in Turkey in November. Having found that 70 per cent of employment comes from SMEs, the Turkish government decided to set the pace for their integration. Ahmet Davutoglu, the prime minister of Turkey, explained that because the small players are important drivers for employment creation, competitiveness and growth, the country decided to focus on the challenges of SMEs across the globe. Working with the International Chamber of Commerce, ICC, he disclosed that Turkey has decided to launch a World SME Forum to address their challenges. “Addressing their governance bottlenecks, facilitating their access to finance and providing a more conducive regulatory environment across the globe are the critical elements on our agenda,” he explained.
Rescuing Nigeria and other LIDCs also topped the agenda at the just concluded G20, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Ankara, Turkey. Financial experts at the meeting charged the leaders of the top economies to engage their counterparts in Africa in their endeavours to grow the world economy. Christine Lagarde, managing director, International Monetary Fund, noted that global leaders have failed to assist Nigeria and LIDCs in general to achieve the 2 per cent gross domestic product, GDP benchmark established in Sydney, Australia last year. During the Australia G20 leaders’ summit in November last year, the leaders promised to raise G20 GDP by more than 2 per cent above the current levels within five years, which they also failed to achieve. The world leaders also failed to engage the LIDCs in discussions relating to solving energy issues…