BusinessDay

Bankers’ Committee empowers MSMEs with skills to attract funding

The Bankers’ Committee Financial Literacy and Public Enlightenment Campaign for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) is equipping entrepreneurs with the right skills needed to attract funding and keep their businesses profitable.

The five-week Financial Literacy and Public Enlightenment Radio Campaign for MSMEs themed: Boom is Coming: Proactive Strategies for Businesses in Recovery enabled panellists drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), banks and private sector to educate the MSMEs on innovative strategies for sustainable business growth.

The panellists include assistant director, CBN, Paul Oluikpe; head, personal and MSME Banking at Unity Bank plc, Opeyemi Ojesina, and agent management and expansion manager, 3Line Card Management Limited, Victor Okeke.

Speaking at the Radio Nigeria Network programme, Oluikpe said the CBN created certain policies and intervention programmes to help businesses thrive. He said: “From the CBN perspectives, we have several targeted initiatives that focus on strengthening the capacity of MSMEs in the Nigerian landscape.

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“So, what we have is the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, the Targeted Credit Scheme which are being disbursed by the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme , among others,” he said .

Oluikpe explained that such interventions help businesses and individuals which have been impacted negatively by Covid-19 to stay afloat and sustainable in their operations for now and in the future.

He explained that Nigeria has 49 million MSMEs based on Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) report adding that Nigeria premises are full of businesses, both at the household and street levels.

Also speaking, Head Personal and MSME Banking at Unity Bank, Opeyemi Ojesina, said the borrowers under the scheme needed to be in a good position before they can access these loans.

On how MSMEs should be before they can even approach the banks for the loans, he said many operators in the MSMEs space behave alike.

“The challenge that most MSMEs have is in the area of capacity building. Capacity building because, to succeed, MSMEs operators must know their business, their capacity and industry as well as regulations. And without having these at the tip of their fingers, they will continue to run in circles. MSMEs must be fully grounded in knowing what their industry is like, and what regulations are driving the industry,” he stated.

Speaking on Agency Banking, Okeke, said the agency banking was instituted to ensure that everyone, no matter where they are, have access to quality financial services.

“The CBN and other partners championed the initiates, including Super Agents, Mobile Money operators. The Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) is focused on expanding the agent networks across Nigeria,” he said .

He explained that while there are 700,000 Agents, a lot more still needs to be done.

“The Agency Banking business has a lot of potential for those that want to get into the business. There is a need to have the right structures and trainings for operators.”

“The Sabimoni platform is championed by SANEF and CBN to drive financial literacy among agents on how to manage their books and keep records. For instance, access to intervention funds would require proper structure and have a turnover with necessary training like the one organised by Sabimoni and other training platforms,” she said.

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