Small and medium scale enterprises are very important in any effort to building a strong and sustainable economy, Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq said on Thursday.
He added that the government will continue to support small businesses, including those affected in the recent looting of public and private properties in Ilorin, the capital city of the state.
“Our plan is to build a strong economy. We aspire to build an economy like Lagos which has an IGR of about N35bn monthly. That’s about what we generate here in a year. So, we want to scale up our IGR and it is the businesses like what you are doing here (Kwara Mall) that will help us to scale up,” AbdulRazaq said in an audience with a delegation of the Palms Mall led by its chairman Tayo Amusan.
“You are an investor and I know with what happened you will be disappointed. But I urge you not to lose hope but to forge ahead, stay with us and continue to invest in Kwara. What happened does not represent our character.
“You have built a mini-economy in Kwara by anchoring Shoprite and other small and medium enterprises that had sprung up around Kwara Mall. That fits into our programme of building an enterprising state. Kwarans are enterprising. You will see Kwarans all over the country doing very well.”
Amusan, for his part, commended the Governor’s show of concern and swift response following the attacks.
He cautioned Nigerians against attacking public and private properties during any crisis, saying such actions constitute serious threats to economic growth.
“I am much more concerned about ordinary entrepreneurs, the small and medium entrepreneurs. The persons that have hair dressing salon, selling small materials or those who just opened businesses there,” he said.
Shoprite is another firm I feel for because this is the second time that it will be attacked (not in Kwara but elsewhere around the nation). The first time was during the xenophobic attacks. A number of places were attacked and they almost fed up. We have to keep on appealing to them.
“I want to also appeal to Nigerians that we should not destroy ourselves. This is not it. I was at the Mall and I saw some of the workers there, doing nothing. I must say, we will recover. We will try and see that some shops return before the end of the year.”
Ajibola Sobande, Portfolio Manager of Palms Mall, described the incident as unfortunate and said at least 39 brands were affected in the Mall alone.
“It was an unfortunate incident. The incident of that day cannot be underestimated. We want to thank Your Excellency because we called and you answered us. We did lose properties but we are grateful that no life was lost. We want to say thank you for being there,” she said.
“Our hope is to get people back to their businesses because we have over 39 brands in the Mall. They are all medium and small enterprises outside the Shoprite. We are hoping that things will get back to normal.”