Aba‘ll no longer be ignored in Nigeria’s economic landscape – Ikpeazu

…as he unveils Aba SME Microfinance bank

Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State will no longer be ignored in Nigeria’s economic landscape, because of activities of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the state government’s interest to further develop the sector, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has observed.

Ikpeazu made the observation at the unveiling of the newly re-branded Abia SME Microfinance Bank, held at the secretariat of the Aba Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA).

The Abia State governor, who was represented at the event by Chinenye Nwaogu, his senior special adviser on special investments, stated that Abia SME Microfinance Bank belongs to business operators and urged them to own it.

According to him, the government is not going to ask for credit from this bank, it belongs to business operators and we want you to own it, not just by opening accounts, but by being shareholders.

“You are the ambassadors of the bank, so that we can grow the business of Aba and that why we want you to support the bank”, he appealed. He reaffirmed his administration’s interest to hand down sustainable structures to successive administrations, which is why it is setting up the Microfinance Bank.

“The vision of this bank is to hand it over to the private sector. It is not owned by government. It is a bank of the people that would address all the bottlenecks business operators’ face in accessing microcredit’s, so that they can continue to invest money in their businesses.

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“So this bank is a response to the challenge of access to finance. As a state government, we are in full partnership with ACCIMA to build the economy of Aba”, he stated.

Lawrence Obeta, president, ACCIMA, thanked Ikpeazu for implementing programmes targeted at growing MSMEs in Abia, especially Aba, noting that Abia has reclaimed her status as SME capital of Nigeria, under his watch.

“The chamber is happy with our governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, for the way he is managing the resources of Abia State. He has done more than what he promised. The chamber is happy with him in all that he is doing and all that he wants to do.

“He is doing our roads and trying to put Abia in a better shape. We want to thank him and commend him and wish him to do more”.

He urged the Aba business community to support the bank, to grow and become one of the strongest microfinance banks in Nigeria.

Gabe Iboko, a director in the bank, maintained that Governor Ikpeazu was poised to leave a solid and sustainable legacy, through the establishment of the Microfinance Bank, specifically for SMEs and urged the business community to embrace the opportunity the bank offers.

Kingsley Nwobilor, managing director, Abia SME Microfinance Bank, who was also unveiled at the event, explained that the bank is poised to jump-start and grow businesses, through the four core banking products of the bank that includes, cluster credit scheme for traders, save to own for tricycle (keke) operators and taxi drivers, thrift savings credit scheme for traders, especially market women and Abia SME Bank diaspora investment fund, which is a fund to be contributed by the diaspora community to support mostly youth-driven businesses.

He pointed out that many of those in the diaspora are interested in investing and empowering their kits and kins back home, but do not have a structured and transparent channel to support those businesses and stated that those products would address most of the challenges faced by the Aba business community.

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