‘MSMEs’ development remains key to national growth’

SMEsThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated strategic importance of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) to the growth of the nation’s economy.

This was stated at the recent workshops in Abuja and Owerri respectively on the N220billion Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise Development Fund organized by the Bankers’ Committee’s sub-committee on economic development, sustainability and gender in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

CBN’s Director, Development Finance Department, Dr. Mudasiru Olaitan said, the essence of the workshop is to get the Deposit Money Banks (DMB) to key into the strategic plan of the apex bank for the MSMEs.
“MSMEs are the engine room for economic growth, vehicle for job creation, tools for poverty alleviation and wealth creation for any country’s economy, so there is need to support them to grow so that the economy can grow, Olaitan stressed.

In his presentation, the Assistant Director, MSME Development Fund, CBN, Tobin Jonathan, said the workshop was organized to cross-fertilize ideas and bridge the knowledge gap on the MSME sector by the lending institutions and to also correct the wrong perception of the risky nature of the sector.

According to him, “The rejection rate of MSME applications by commercial banks is very high. We are aware that, this is necessitated by the banks’ aversion to risk due to lack of entrepreneurial skills and poor governance structures of most MSMEs, hence the necessity of the workshop to enlighten the bankers and encourage them more on the need to partner with us on the need to grow the sector.”

A representative of the Monitoring and Evaluation Department, National Collateral Registry Dr. Olasupo Musa, in his presentation titled “Movable Collateral, Registry Reforms and MSME Financing in Nigeria”, said CBN is collaborating with International Finance Corporation (IFC) to establish a National Collateral Registry to stabilize MSME financing and also boost the confidence of Nigerian banks in playing active roles in financing the real sector in Nigeria, most especially the MSME sector.

According to him, the MSME sector is an important catalyst for economic growth and financing the sector needs serious attention. Globally, collateral for MSME is moving away from fixed assets to movable assets, hence the need to establish a collateral registry for the finance industry. We are excited to partner with IFC on this initiative”, Musa said.

Also speaking at the event, Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan Atlantic University, Peter Bamkole, challenged banks to key into MSME financing through stimulation and that they must be seen as links by creating marked access. According to him, banks should assist big businesses connect the dots with the MSMEs.

He highlighted the major impediments to MSME growth in Nigeria, which include; absence of enabling environment, inconsistent government policies and lack of access to finance. Deposit money banks are positioned to demystify all the challenges associated with MSME financing through innovative lending that seeks to address ‘No Collateral’ and the use of business development service providers to handhold the entrepreneurs and also serve as their advisors.”

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