Startup businesses in Abia state are set to receive a major boost, following the state government’s Small and Medium Scale Micro-Finance Bank.
The bank according to our correspondent findings will cater for the needs of startups, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, for business development.
SMEs are businesses with a turnover of less than N100 million per annum and/or less than 300 employees.
According to the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN National Survey of 2017, there are around 41.5 million SMEs in Nigeria.
Studies by the International Finance Corporation, IFC, show that approximately 96 percent of Nigerian businesses are SMEs compared to 53 percent in the US and 65 percent in Europe.
Additionally, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, diclosed that, SMEs represent about 90 percent of the manufacturing and industrial sector in terms of number of enterprises.
Abia Goverment reacts
The Special Adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Social Investments, Mr Chinenye Nwogu in a chat with newsmen in Aba, stated that the bank which was unveiled in Aba by the governor would focus on providing funds for developing small and medium scale businesses in Aba.
He said the idea of the bank was mooted by the governor since he assumed office in 2015.
“The vision for this bank is to hand it over to the citizens to address the bottlenecks that hinders businesses from accessing micro credits, so that they can continue to inject money and grow their businesses.
“So, this bank is a response to the challenge of access to finance in Abia and in the course of time, the bank will transit to become a bank owned by the people and not the government,” Nwogu said.
The Managing Director of the bank, Mr Kingsley Nwobilor noted that the establishment of the bank was a right step in the right direction.
He thanked the governor for the opportunity to showcase his understanding of what businesses in Abia needed, saying that the bank would provide a number of business credit opportunities for Abia entrepreneurs, to easily access funds within 24 hours and develop their businesses.
Nwaobilor listed the bank’s packages to include, Cluster Credit Scheme for traders, Save to Own for tricycle operators and taxi drivers, and Thrift Savings Credit Scheme for traders, especially market women.
Others are the Abia SME Bank Diaspora Investment Fund and Abia Youth Entrepreneurship scheme.
Chairman, Ariaria International Market Traders Association, Emeka Igara and President, Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMASS), Mr Okechukwu Williams, thanked the state government for establishing the bank.
They observed that the bank would help artisans expand and grow their work.