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Single Digit Interest Loan Coming For MSMEs — FG



Vice President Kashim Shettima

The Nigeria Federal Government yesterday has sustained the momentum of its promise to stimulate the economy.

This followed the announcement of its plans to urgently ensure quick access to single-digit loans for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within the shortest time possible.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, in a statement by the Director of Information in his Office, Mr. Olusola Abiola, said this was part of the plans by the Bola Tinubu Administration to ultimately grow the economy.

Shettima, in a message to mark the ‘2023 MSME Day,’ also said it was in recognition of the role of MSMEs in growing the nation’s economy.

The United Nations and its sister agencies marked this year’s MSMEs Day with the theme: “Galvanising MSMEs worldwide by supporting women and youth entrepreneurship and resilient supply chains.”

Shettima stated: “On this World MSME Day, the government recognises the vital role that MSMEs play in driving economic growth, creating jobs, and promoting innovation.

“We remain committed to providing support, fostering an enabling environment, and improving access to finance for MSMEs, especially in these unprecedented times.

“We urge all stakeholders to come together to champion the growth and success of MSMEs to achieve sustainable development for all, while we also recognise the plethora of issues that face MSMEs as a result of the subsidy removal.

“However, the government is working urgently to ensure quick access to single-digit loans for Nigerian small businesses within the shortest time possible.

“Please note that Mr. President is your partner and here to make life easier for your businesses. Happy MSMEs Day.”

Nigeria has an estimated 37.07 million MSMEs, which account for about 48.5 per cent of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 7.27 per cent of total export.

Experts, however, say that as many as 90 per cent of private enterprises and MSMEs in Nigeria have limited or no access to credit, a development they said, constrained MSMEs’ capacity to play their role as economic growth drivers.

Accordingly, the experts have been pushing for banks to change their lending model in favour of MSMEs, as, according to them, more than 80 per cent of loans in Nigeria were concentrated in high-net-worth individuals, big commercial entities and specific sectors, particularly the oil and gas sector, crowding out MSMEs.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of CRC Credit Bureau Limited, one of the three licensed private credit bureaux, Mr. ‘Tunde Popoola, has never stopped canvassing the need for banks to target the estimated 37 million MSMEs in the country.

While noting that retail loans remained a viable area for banks to play, he said banks needed to focus more on MSMEs, which are the engine of economic growth.

Citing a World Bank report, Popoola said loans provided by banks to the private sector were only 14 per cent of the GDP, as opposed to 149 per cent in South Africa, for instance.

He said if MSMEs were empowered with unhindered access to credit, they would be in a better position to spur more productive activities and ultimately create jobs, reduce poverty and engender sustainable economic growth.

Globally, MSMEs are regarded as the backbone of any economy. They are credited with the capacity to contribute to improved living standards, bring about substantial local capital formation and help in achieving a high level of productivity and capability.

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MSMEs have also been identified as a vehicle for employment generation. Everywhere, MSMEs are the biggest employers of labour.

They also provide opportunities for entrepreneurial sourcing, training, development and empowerment.

Unsurprisingly, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, hailed the contributions of MSMEs in socio-economic growth and development.

He said his administration would continue to sustain policies to support the growth and sustainability of businesses amid the current economic realities.

The governor, who said this in commemoration of MSMEs Day, said: “Today, we acknowledge the role of MSMEs in the growth and development of our state. MSMEs are the backbone of our economy, driving innovation, creating employment opportunities, and fostering economic diversification.

“It is the relentless spirit and resilience of our entrepreneurs that have transformed ideas into thriving businesses, uplifting communities, and propelling our state toward economic progress and prosperity.

“This year’s celebration presents us with another opportunity to reflect on the challenges faced by our small business owners and entrepreneurs, and the unprecedented disruptions caused by the current economic realities.

“Despite the obstacles, they have displayed unwavering determination, resilience, and creativity in navigating through turbulent times.

“As a government, we understand that access to finance, infrastructure, technology, and market linkages are crucial for the growth of our MSMEs and are committed to supporting and empowering them, ensuring the implementation of policies and reforms to guarantee an enabling environment for small businesses to thrive.

“We have through the state’s skills development agency, Edojobs, provided training and business advisory services to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed.

“We are providing the needed infrastructure including steady electricity and good roads to enhance the ease of doing business for MSMEs, connecting all our local government areas with Internet connectivity to ensure that businesses tap into the opportunities of a 21st-century technology-driven economy and attracting local and foreign investments to bolster the MSME ecosystem through the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO).”

Speaking on the theme of the celebration, Obaseki said: “This year’s theme highlights the crucial role played by women and youth entrepreneurs in our MSME sector and emphasises the importance of building resilient supply chains.

“We recognise the immense potential of our youths and tremendous potential of women entrepreneurs in driving economic growth, and will continue to support them to realise their fullest potential.”

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