The case has been made for the establishment of a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) bank to facilitate long-term financing of micro-businesses in Nigeria.
President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Adetokunbo Kayode, made the case at the annual Executive and Council meeting of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (NACCIMA) in Abuja.
He said ACCI will push for the creation of an SME bank that is targeted at funding SMEs only, to be driven by the organized private sector, working closely with national institutions.
Kayode stated: “We all know that our banks are not really structured for long-term funding, but that is still the mechanism the government is using, and we must tweak this mechanism and ensure that our SMEs are good to go in terms of competition.”
He acknowledged that the Bank of Industry (BoI) is trying, but noted that one institution cannot achieve much, pointing out the need for a targeted SME bank.
“We have big industries, small industries and micro industries. In the past, Nigeria used to have the Nigeria Bank for Commerce and Industry (NBCI) targeted specifically at SMEs.
“BoI is doing well, but it will never achieve the purpose the government has in mind for funding SMEs. BoI is funding everything.
“They are funding Oil and Gas, Power, Nuclear energy, millions of projects, and when one institution tries to do everything, confusion sets in.
“We need targeted funding for the SMEs, it is very important for the growth and development of our economy,” he added.
Speaking further on the level of discussion with the government, Kayode further noted that the structure BoI and commercial banks have for funding of SMEs is tedious and needs to be re-jigged and re-structured to bolster the economy.
“We have taken this matter up with the government at the level of Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC),” he added.
Amaka E. Nliam