• Monday, April 15, 2024
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First Bank, SMEDAN partner to offer SMEs financial, other support

First Bank, SMEDAN partner to offer SMEs financial, other support

Hope rises for the Nigerian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector as First Bank of Nigeria and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), partner to offer financial and business support, especially now that the harsh economy is stifling businesses.

The partnership was disclosed recently at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organisations at the bank’s headquarters in Marina, Lagos.

Most importantly, the partnership and collaboration between both organisations will enable the parties to promote business activities for the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and also accelerate digitization and development of the sub-sector in Nigeria.

It will also add credibility to the SMEs registered under SMEDAN as they will be exposed to training, mentoring and financial education that would enable them to run their businesses properly and transit from unstructured to more structured and bankable business.

Speaking at the ceremony, which was attended by some executives of the two organisations, Adesola Adedutan, chief executive officer, First Bank of Nigeria, described the partnership as a remarkable and rewarding journey that would change not just the bank and SMEDAN, but also the fortune of the country as SMEs are the drivers of the economy.

Speaking further, Adedutan, who was represented at the ceremony by Olusegun Alebiosu, executive director/ chief risk officer of the bank, said that the bank is in the partnership because of the critical roles that SMEs play in the growth of the nation’s GDP through diversification of the economy, job creation, wealth distribution and social stability.

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“This is one of the driving forces behind our SME Connect initiative through which we offer bespoke financing and non-financing solutions to meet the needs of our growing SME community,” he said.

On his part, Olawale Tunde Fasanya, director general of SMEDAN, expressed his delight over the partnership due to the critical roles SMEs play in the economy while appreciating First Bank for offering to support the SMEs through its reputable platform, wide reach and 129 years of experience in the banking sector.

He noted that while lack of trust and inability to repay loans has made access to funds from banks difficult, his agency has been able to gather credible SMEs with who the bank can work within the partnership.

He also disclosed that the partnership is also to make the SMEs know that there is no free lunch as the initiative is not government-sponsored but a commercial bank that will follow due diligence to ensure that the loans are well utilized and repaid accordingly.

Apart from the funding from the bank, the SMEDAN director said that his agency is offering business support and has initiated common facilities to boost SMEs’ activities, reduce costs and offer them opportunities to scale their businesses.

On recovery of loans, he assured the bank that SMEDAN is working to improve up to 90 percent recovery rate.