FG tasks DBN on affordable financing to MSMEs

The Federal Government has charged the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), to provide affordable financing to a wider cross-section of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The Minister of Finance Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, gave the directive yesterday, while declaring open on behalf of the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, the 3rd Annual Lecture Series of the Bank, themed: “Thriving in the Face of Domestic and Global Disruptions”, in Abuja.

Ahmed said DBN’s intervention has become imperative because of the resultant impact of the war on the cost of doing business, and the challenges facing the MSMEs which have increased significantly.

She said: “It is important that the DBN step up to the plate and expand its funding windows to provide affordable financing to a wider cross-section of MSMEs.

She also assured of her Ministry’s support to DBN and other actors “working towards the common goal of ensuring MSMEs can become key drivers of economic growth and create sustainable and livelihood-enhancing jobs for segments of the working population prone to vulnerability.”

Noting that the DBN was created in collaboration with key development partners to address the financing challenges facing MSMEs in Nigeria, she admitted that the bank “has distinguished itself as a key contributor to unlocking the capacity of MSMEs to catalyse economic growth and job creation in the Nigerian economy.

…working towards the common goal of ensuring MSMEs can become key drivers of economic growth and create sustainable and livelihood-enhancing jobs for segments of the working population prone to vulnerability.

Therefore, to guarantee their effective contribution to the economy, she said it is imperative to ensure MSMEs are supported in the acquisition of skills and tools to run their businesses efficiently, manage risks and gain access to finance at competitive and affordable rates.

“This underscores the important role played by the DBN in facilitating access to finance and with a total loan disbursement of N482 billion to 208,000 MSMEs in 2021, of which 27 per cent are youth-owned while 66 per cent are owned by women, the DBN continues to be a major driver of MSME growth in Nigeria.” she further said.

Under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), she said some provisions were made to support the MSMEs, which include a N250 billion grant containing an N50 billion MSME de-risking facility component; a payroll support scheme providing up to N50,000 in monthly salaries for up to 10 staff of qualifying businesses for three months.

About 1.3 million jobs have been retained through the MSME and payroll support, she added.

Thriving MSMEs sector

In his welcome remarks, the Managing Director of DBN, Tony Okpanachi, said the theme of this year’s lecture, “speaks directly to our commitment as a financial institution, toward providing a conducive environment for MSMEs to thrive.”

He said as the pioneer chief executive of the bank, he expressed pride in the strategic role DBN plays as reliable builders of MSMEs, “a segment we are mandated to provide funding for.”

However, there is still a compelling need for businesses to continue to innovate especially, as the world gradually recovers from the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Okpanachi also noted that disruptions on a global scale “are now a reality in an increasingly interconnected global economy.”

“However, there is still a compelling need for businesses to continue to innovate especially, as the world gradually recovers from the disruptions caused by COVID-19.”

This, he said, “has affected every part of the value chain, from raw material sourcing to the end customer; to the suffering induced by the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, resulting in slower economic growth and rising inflation across nations.”

The Chairman of DBN, Shehu Yahaya, said the Annual Lecture Series is one of the ways the DBN has continued to engage all stakeholders to seek solutions and influence policies aimed at addressing the constraints faced by the MSMEs, especially access to finance and building their capacity to upscale sustainably.

He added that MSMEs occupy a critical part of the Nigerian economy and contribute 48% to the GDP, and through their activities, Nigeria can be transformed from a consuming to a producing nation.

According to him, the strategy is to overcome MSMEs’ major challenges and transform them into a major fulcrum for the transformation of the Nigerian economy, and place them at the centre of technological innovation and transformation, local value addition, non-oil export drive with dynamic linkages to larger enterprises, and a veritable engine for job generation.

“This is the whole focus of this year’s Annual Lecture, to combine our efforts with all other stakeholders to develop ideas, policies, programs, and projects to boost growth, bolster macroeconomic frameworks, reduce financial vulnerabilities, provide support to vulnerable population groups, and reduce the long-term impacts of the global shocks of recent years,” he added.

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