423 views | Kenechukwu Ofomah | January 1, 2020
Civil society and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) in the South East have called for investigation into how State Governments disburse funds provided as support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Over the years, the CBN has rolled out several initiatives aimed at supporting SMEs as drivers of the economy, to grow and engender economic growth with the States at the helm of disbursement.
According to these organizations, the process of disbursement of these funds has not reflected openness and transparency as it has created the avenue for government cronies to divert investment funds for private use.
Speaking in Awka, Anambra State Capital, on a communique issued by the coalition on the development, the Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Comrade Olanrewaju Suraju revealed that billions of Naira are distributed to state governments every year by the CBN, many of which end up in the pockets of corrupt people who use such funds for electoral patronage thereby defeating the designed objective of economic growth.
He noted the SMEs sector is the largest employer of labour in Nigeria, representing 80 percent of available jobs while accounting for 50 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stressing that stemming corruption in the SMEs sector will impact on sustainable development in the region known for a long history of enterprise.
“Dealing with corruption in the SMEs sector will broaden the scope of greater opportunities for job seekers while providing the needed impetus for industrial transformation of the country” he added.
Contributing, a Co-Chair of the Civil Society Group in Anambra, Prince Chris Azor observed that SMEs funding in the southeast, especially in Anambra state, is worrisome, as there is hardly any conscious and serious monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place.
He said, “Transparency and Accountability are obviously lacking. The National and State Coordinating bodies are not effective and efficient. I am of the view that there is a whole lot of under hand practices going on. A thorough audit of the scheme is imperative because the future of economic development of the South East is hinged in the SMEs”.