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SMEs’ poor product distribution worries MAN, others


 The Manufacturers Resource Centre, an arm of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, has said that it is not enough for manufacturers to produce products but there must be effective distribution and supply chain for the products to get to the market.

This was the kernel of a stakeholders’ interactive session in an event organised by the MRC and Connect Skills and Venture Capital Limited on Thursday in Lagos.

Players in the Small and Medium Enterprises, logistics, banking and e-commerce were in attendance.

The Director-General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Special Duties, Mr Niran Ade-Onajobi, said the event was for manufacturers to link up with players in the logistics, supply and e-commerce industries.

While he noted that the value chain of production would not be completed without access to the market and the final consumers, he noted that there were smart ways of doing this, given the presence of technology, outsourcing and e-commerce.

Representing the SMEs, the Chief Executive Officer/founder, Cywe Ventures International Limited, manufacturers of Cywe range of herbal beauty products, Mrs Okeke Nwaamaka, said it was a Herculean task being an entrepreneur, especially in the SMEs sector.

She said dearth of funds was one of the major challenges confronting the sector, as banks, most times, considered offering them loans as risky. She added that it became difficult for them to produce at a competitive price.

She said, “Getting money for importing raw materials or exporting the final products was always a problem. Banks don’t give us loans because they considered funding the SMEs as risky. There is also the issue of power as well as logistics.”

Nwaamaka called on the government, the Bank of Industry and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to come to the aid of the SME operators.

The Head, Fast Moving Consumer Products in United Bank for Africa, Mr Chike Isiowe, said it was not true that banks would not give loans to the SMEs, but they (banks) ensured that the business to be financed was well-structured and would bring back the money expended on it.

He said with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the SMEs in Nigeria must brace for the opportunities it offered.

“The global economy is opening up and AfCTA will   move African trade forward. Operators in the SMEs sector must ensure their products are standardised. To achieve this, the government must address the issues of power and other infrastructure. The government has a role to play to make goods from Nigeria competitive.”

An e-commerce expert, Vincent Mayaki, said distribution and supply chain should be technology-driven, adding that market storming/activation was no longer enough as the impact could not be measured.

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