A gubernatorial hopeful in Cross River state, Mr. John UpanOdey has vowed to provide a conducive environment to encourage all levels of entrepreneurs
in their business endeavours once he is elected into office as the governor of the state.
In his presentation at the Cross River Entrepreneurs Conference and Exhibition (CRECE) 2018 titled “Building Infrastructure for Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME) to Thrive in Cross River State”, Odey underlined the need for entrepreneurial growth as a catalyst for economic and societal development, noting that many of the world's renowned organisations today such as Kellogs, Apple, Ford, Microsoft, and even Nigeria's own Dangote Group all started as small enterprises.
The Micro, Small, and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSME), according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were enterprises with asset base (land not included) that was not up to N500m, a labour force that was less than 200, and also an annual turnover of less than N500m. in his own words, Odey explained that MSME was like the soldier ants that build and establish the anthill. This is because the MSME is all about the production of goods and services which engender the development of the society. He emphasized that a greater percentage of those employed in both the developing and developed countries are in the MSME sector.
He said though Cross River state was known as the home of civil servants, many citizens of the area engaged in commercial activities as seen by the proliferation of shops and all forms of business engagements which dot the towns and villages. The enterprising nature of the people of Cross River state can be attested to by the BBC survey of 2017 which stated that “Nigeria has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world”.
According to Odey, citizens of Cross River state, and Nigeria generally were very enterprising in nature, drawing an inference from comments by the former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Johnson, who submitted that Nigeria had the highest number of entrepreneurs per capita of any country he had ever visited. The assertions from these authorities
The gubernatorial aspirant, who showed that he was well versed with the challenges and cost of doing business in Nigeria said he was poised to tackle them headlong through the building of infrastructure that would enable the MSME thrive in Cross River State. He noted that the issues of bad road network, insecurity, irregular and lack of power supply, multiple taxation, communal clashes, among others, would be given the attention they deserve to make for a convenient environment for the promotion of MSME, he promised to liaise with the federal government and relevant authorities to ensure that dilapidated roads in the state are well fixed.
In resolving the issues that militate against MSME in the state, Odey pointed out that he had a two-pronged approach to it, namely the building of both physical and system infrastructure. While physical infrastructure involves building good land and water ways which enhance the transportation of goods and services from production to sales point, the system infrastructure focuses on cluster creation, financing options, and capacity development.