Benin, Sept. 18, 2023: The Young CEO Initiative has called for creation of a ministry for young entrepreneurs to stimulate the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
Founder of the initiative, Mr Aigbe Omorege, made the call on Monday during a news conference in Benin, Edo.
Omorege, who was joined by other members of the initiative, said creating such a ministry had become necessary in order to relate directly to young entrepreneurs and drive the spirit of entrepreneurship for which the country was known.
According to him, young entrepreneurs employ the highest number of people, thereby generating the highest amount of revenue as far as Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is concerned.
These efforts, he said, had helped to reduce unemployment to a significant level.
“Also, we want the president to instruct the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) to make public the currency swap agreements between the bank and Republic of China’s Central Bank so that our people can take advantage of this.
“Remember, few days ago, a human rights activist, Femi Falana, came up with the revelation that there was a currency swap agreement between the two countries that would help our people going to do business in China not to source for dollars, but to exchange naira for China currency.
“If we had known this early enough or it was made public, it could have helped to reduce the stress of sourcing for dollars,” he said.
Omorege, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Intercontinental Paint, urged President Bola Tinubu to, as a matter of urgency, create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, particularly in the areas of clearing.
“The situation at the clearing point or the entry point, as far as the clearing system is concerned, is frustrating to us.
“The high cost of clearing has also increased the cost of commodities in the market, especially for those of us in the manufacturing sector.
“You can source for dollars at a very high cost, clear your goods at a very high cost but it is the common man on the street who will suffer for it.
“We also ask that government subsidises dollars for young entrepreneurs who go into importation of raw materials for manufacturing.
“This will help to crash the cost of commodities in the market,” said the initiative’s founder.
The young entrepreneur expressed the regret that many enterprises belonging to members of the initiative had folded up in recent time due to the prevailing economic situation.
He called on governments at all levels to declare a state of emergency in the economies that were within their purviews so as to encourage the youngsters contributing to the nation’s economy.
Omorege, however, commended the president for the steps taken so far to cushion the adverse impacts of the present economic situation in the country.
While stating that the palliatives rolled out for SMEs were in order, he, nonetheless, called for the inclusion of Edo in the number of state to be considered.