|Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga|
Wednesday, 11 February 2015
FG Urges Banks to support the growth of Micro, Small and Medium scale (MSMEs) Sector
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga has advised deposit money banks to develop programmes that would support the growth of micro, small and medium scale (MSMEs) so as to stimulate economic growth.
Aganga said this while speaking as a guest on the Fidelity Bank SME radio programme yesterday.
According to the minister, the economy would benefit immensely from financial institutions that prefer to support MSMEs rather than trade on treasury bills and government bonds.
He said: “I encourage banks to support SMEs. It is not about buying treasury bills and bonds and making 10 per cent, you must be relevant to the Nigerian economy.
“You must play your role in terms of supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy, you must play your role in terms of job creation.
“That is the way that other countries are growing and our banks must do the same. Fidelity Bank has taken this to a different level.”
Aganga who reeled out the federal government’s efforts towards encouraging micro, small and medium enterprises, explained that if given the opportunity to preside over the affairs of the nation for another four years, policies under President Goodluck Jonathan would accelerate the rate of growth of the Nigerian economy.
“For the first time in the history of this country, we have a government led by President Goodluck Jonathan that is taking MSME as one of the most important sectors of this economy.
“For the first time in history, we are treating this area as a sector. We have a new programme called the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDP) which aims to remove all the barriers and work on what would enable businesses to grow.
“For the time in this country, we have raised it to the highest level. We have an MSME National Council that is chaired by the vice president and has state governors, ministers and agencies on that council,” he said.
According to Aganga, the federal government has reduced the cost of registering businesses for MSMEs by 60 per cent, adding that had led to an increase by 52 per cent in operators that are moving from the informal to the formal sector.
The minister who described access to finance as one of the biggest barriers to the growth of MSMEs, said the federal government has taken stock of all its intervention funds with a view to making them accessible by operators.
“On the N220 billion CBN’s MSME fund, we realised that commercial banks were not getting enough of it, we knew it wasn’t getting to the micro institutions enough, so we set up a committee to work with the CBN to make it easier for the microfinance institutions, the commercial banks and the SMEs to access this funds and we have seen some changes,” he said. THISDAY