In line with the commitment to promote economic growth in the country, a mid-tier lender in Nigeria, Diamond Bank Plc., has held two editions of its 64th business seminar for Small and Medium Scale Business owners within the Lagos and Ibadan metropolises. The bank trained SME owners in the simultaneously held workshops, where they were educated on tax affairs to afford them business leverage in the out-there competition.
At the seminar held at the NECA House in Alausa, Lagos, Uzoma Dozie, the CEO of Diamond Bank, said that Nigerian SMEs have not thrived because of the lack of proper resources as well as appropriate documentation of tax payments to stay afloat.
He said that “There are successful ventures today who evade tax payment to the government. That is a very wrong practice. In some cases, these businesses did pay taxes but did not do proper documentation of the transactions, so they find themselves paying for what they were not supposed to. So, there is the need to pay taxes because the funds are used to create the working business and the friendly environment we crave”.
The Ibadan edition of the 64th Diamond Business Seminar was held at the Segun Aganga Hall of the International Conference Centre in the University of Ibadan, and it was part of the banks’ effort to grow indigenous ventures for business owners who are customers of the bank, in order to provide them with relevant information on how to cultivate their businesses and acquire the required skills that can afford them funding.
Speaking on the themes for the Lagos edition, Taiwo Oyedele, Partner at PwC West Africa, explained that nations, where people pay their taxes, have better governance. On the sidelines of the “Be The Boss Of Your Tax Affairs” theme, he added that the government needs to put in a more efforts to educate the public on the approved taxes meant for collection by the local or state government. He also revealed that Nigeria makes USD 25 Bn from yearly tax collections when compared with the USD 6 Tn the United States makes from tax, along which line he urged Nigerians to be attentive towards tax affairs.
At the Ibadan leg of this initiative, Adenike Ogunsugba, the Area Manager of Diamond Bank, remarked that the financial institution engineered the seminar to satisfy the yearning of its customers, build their abilities and provide them with tips on how to expand their businesses. He added that it is a platform for SMEs to dialogue with the bank and make public their expectations while learning from the experts, how to handle their businesses.
“This seminar is to build on the ability of our customers and teach them how to grow their business as part of fulfilling the value promises we made to you and open you up to opportunities available at the bank to help grow your business and the services you can explore for expansion. There are many services we have that you can explore, though many do not understand the merits, one of such is the Diamond Business Advantage account which allows you to assess funding without collateral,” Ogunsugba said.
Preye Jimoh, the Managing Director of Dovas Spa Group, was a guest speaker at the Ibadan leg. She urged SMEs to have up-to-date business plans and financial records, as means by which they can know whether they are sinking or making headway. She also encouraged them to keep their proceeds in the bank, as it will help make the auditors’ works easier and assist in financing business better in terms of accessing loans.
“There are 37 million Small and Medium Scale businesses in Nigeria, and they contribute to 48 percent of the GDP,” she said.