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The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bank Of Industry, Olukayode Pitan, has said globally, small and medium enterprises account for the majority of business enterprises.

He said they were contributing to production output, exports, and boosting innovation, which represented hallmarks of economic growth in most economies, and contributed between 40 per cent and 55 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and 50 per cent to 80 per cent of employment in most economies, according to World Bank.

A statement said Pitan spoke at the regular weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Lagos.

He said SMEs possessed great potential for employment generation, improvement in local technology, economic diversification, development of indigenous entrepreneurship and wealth.

According to him, 22 per cent of Africa’s working-age population were entrepreneurs, which was the highest rate in the world according to African Development Bank.

“In Nigeria today, we have 39.7 million MSMEs, contributing 46.3 per cent to national GDP, accounting for 96.7 per cent of businesses, 87.9 per cent of employment, 6.2 per cent to exports,” he said.

He added that with a rapidly growing population that was expected to increase from 200 million currently to 410 million in 2050, an opportunity existed for Nigerian SMEs to provide services, jobs, innovation and economic growth to meet the country’s growing needs.

The BOI boss noted that despite these existing opportunities and their strategic role in national economic development, most SMEs still faced challenges limiting their ability to thrive, compete and succeed.

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