Access Bank votes N30bn for Nigeria’s MSME growth

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BY FESTUS OKOROMADU, ABUJA

Access Bank PLC has earmarked N30 billion for investment in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector in the nation’s economy.

The bank’s Group Managing Director, Roosevelt Ogbonna, disclosed this to journalists on Friday at the State House, Abuja, after leading management of the bank on a visit to Vice President Kashim Shettima.

The funds, according to him, which are to be disbursed in the form of soft loans, are for women and youth entrepreneurs.

“Working with the office of the Vice President we want to change the lives of small businesses belonging to women and youths. We do agree and determine that about 66 percent of MSMEs in Nigeria are owned by women and the youth.

“And I think one of the challenges that they face is finance therefore, working with the office of the Vice President; we have agreed today that Access Bank will provide about N30 billion towards supporting women and SMEs and the youth.

“We will expect that this money will be done at discounted rate to commercial terms and we want to see how we can truly have a positive impact to this segment of the Nigerian economy so, we are excited to be part of that process and we thank the Vice President and his office for giving us this opportunity to be a partner,” he said.

Ogbonna also stated that the scheme would impact at least four million people and the entire process would be kick started immediately as directed by Vice President Shettima.

“We do expect that this will impact at least four million people, given the four different programmes that we are doing so this is not just about lending, we are building capacity, by training the youths. We are ensuring that we can empower them through financing as well as finding new markets for these SMEs so that any product or service that they come up with they can find an outlet for.

“We are starting from today. We just have to look for the deserving MSMEs. We have been supporting SMEs and women for the last 16-17 years and all we are doing with this partnership is to give us significant impetus to do more.

“The Vice President has charged us to do less talking so we are now going to be on the streets to try and ensure that we get this off the ground immediately,” he stated.

On his part, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Medium and Small Scale Enterprises, Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, said Nigeria’s business environment is very conducive for businesses to thrive.

According to him, the scheme will help strengthen partnership between the public and private sectors.