The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has recommended that it’s proposed tax harmonization legislation for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should be preceded by a Presidential Executive Order for compliance.
Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, President of ACCI, gave this recommendation recently in Abuja at it’s First Abuja SMEs conference and exhibition 2021.
Newsmen reports that the conference had it’s theme as “Solution Strategies for Resolving Tax, Regulatory Packaging and Logistics Challenges Facing SMEs in Nigeria’’.
Abubakar recalled that as one of the foremost advocates for business in Nigeria, particularly in the SMEs space, ACCI had written to President Muhammadu Buhari on SMEs operator’s greatest hindrance.
He said the chamber proposed a legislation to harmonize taxation for SMEs, adding that it’s detailed submission also sought a Presidential Executive Order, collating current incentives for SMEs and issuing a directive for due compliance.
“I want to re-emphasize and strongly recommend that tax harmonization legislation should be preceded by a Presidential Executive Order. This will enforce compliance with pro-SMEs initiatives and interventions of the government,’’ he said.
He added that the goal for the conference was to match problems with solutions alongside developing an implementation plan, adding that ACCI and her partners conceived the maiden event to solve repeated challenges facing Nigerian SMEs.
Abubakar, while commending the Federal Government for introducing many initiatives and interventions to develop the sector, particularly thanked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for his passion to grow the SMEs sector.
According to the President, at a webinar hosted by ACCI recently, many operational challenges facing SMEs were diagnosed, while speakers from all walks of life proffered several solutions.
He reiterated that there were no shortage of analysis and reviews on problems facing SMEs, adding that what was missing was the creation and implementation of solutions by Stakeholders.
“My expectation is that the outcome of the implementation plan would be reviewed at the second summit, billed to hold in August 16, 2022, while expected outcome will allow for peer review for sector’s improvement,’’ he noted.
Otunba Dele Oye, Deputy Treasurer, Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) expressed displeasure that Nigerian SMEs contributed 50 percent GDP and accounted for 80 percent of employment yet faced with daunting challenges.
Oye, also the First Vice President, National Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) said these challenges namely, tax issues, lack of access to finance and infrastructure, among others were aggravated by COVID-19 pandemic.
He advised that as African Continental Free Trade Area gained more popularity, SMEs in Nigeria and ECOWAS States should be equipped with adequate tools and knowledge of their roles in continental integration.
He said FEWACCI worked with ECOWAS, National Chambers of Commerce, regional and continental institutions to organize programmes and initiatives to promote ease of doing business and capacities to trade and invest across borders.
In a remark, Chief John Udeagbala, NACCIMA President underscored the need for government at all levels to pay attention to the SMEs’ needs to fully harness their potentials as veritable vehicles of inclusive economic growth.
Udeagbala urged the government to restrict massive importation of foreign goods, especially those goods that the SMEs could produce locally in order to protect them against competition with foreign firms.
“NACCIMA will through it’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Trade Group, continue to work closely with all Stakeholders to ensure promotion of MSMEs to significantly improve their contribution to sustainable economic growth and development,’’ he said.