With 2022 projected to be a year of positive growth by private sector stakeholders, a construction industry expert, Temitope Runsewe, says only deliberate investments in public infrastructure will provide SMEs with the growth they need.
Runsewe stated this on a webinar hosted by Lagos SME BootCamp over the weekend. Analyzing key economic forecasts for 2022 and their impacts on small businesses.
Tagged “Business Outlook and Opportunities for MSMEs in 2022”; the webinar featured financial literacy expert and Co-founder Awabah, Tunji Andrews, and Temitope Runsewe, Managing Director, Dutum Construction Company. SME strategist and the convener of the Lagos SME BootCamp Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye put together the event as a resource to help SMEs prepare for the socioeconomic projections in 2022.
Answering questions on the economic forecasts for the construction industry and how infrastructure would impact the operations of SMEs. Runsewe expressed his optimism about the Federal Government’s proposed $32bn infrastructure fund. He noted that the fund aims to bridge Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit and bring private capital into public infrastructure.
In addition, Temitope Runsewe said, “Infrastructure is key for economic growth, and we expect more growth in our sector and project that construction and infrastructure activities will increase in 2022. With the Federal Government committing to seed the Infrastructure Fund with about $2bn of its own money, the private sector will be encouraged to invest in the fund. We will see increased liquidity for the sector.”
He added that these investments in public infrastructure would bring growth for SMEs in Nigeria. As increased liquidity in the real estate and construction industries usually impact the entire economy. Especially in terms of job creation and new business for SMEs. Runsewe also noted that he expects the Nigerian economy to surpass growth projections in 2022 if these private sector investments in public infrastructure come online.
On his part, Mr. Andrews emphasized how critical it is for SMEs to be well-acquainted with their business operating costs for 3 – 6 months ahead. To prepare for socioeconomic challenges like Nigeria’s foreign exchange issues. He also advised business owners to take advantage of technological solutions as much as possible. And always look for cheaper alternatives that will help them cut unnecessary costs.
Tunji Andrews said, “Business planning for SMEs should be thorough. They need to analyze how much they are spending in a short- to the medium-term framework. And determine what is keeping their cost of capital the same.”
He also advised SMEs to periodically identify where the business needs a quick injection of capital. If they should ever need it and reach out to their account officers on how they can access credit. He added that since most commercial banks now prequalify small businesses in advance, it has become easier to access loans when it is most critical.
Ending the session, Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye advised SMEs to embrace innovation and think of ways to leverage technology for growth. However, he warned that not all technology is necessary at every stage. And that SMEs should justify every spending and be doubly sure that it will yield the expected results.