Africa’s leading retail financial institution, Access Bank Plc., has partnered with the Federal Government to provide N30 billion to support four million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), women and youths businesses in Nigeria.
The Group Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Roosevelt Ogbonna, told newsmen after a meeting with the Vice-President, Kashim Shettima at the Presidential Villa, on Friday in Abuja.
Ogbonna explained that the money would be provided to the MSMEs at discounted rates, saying that the bank had been supporting MSMEs and women over the last 16 to 17 years.
According to him, the vice-president had recognised the bank priority to women. “Shettima has a bias for women as we do,” he said.
“It was a very interesting meeting with the Vice-President Kashim Shettima. We spoke about how we can begin to impact the lives of women and youths in Nigeria as well as how we can support the MSMEs.
“We spoke on broad range of issues. We want to change the lives through the Office of the vice-president of small businesses of women and youths.
“We do agree and determine that about 66 per cent of MSMEs in Nigeria are owned by women and youths. And I think one of the challenges that they faced is access to finance.
“Working with the office of the vice-president we agreed today that Access Bank will provide about N30 billion towards supporting MSMEs and youths,” he said.
Ogbonna said the bank had designed four different programmes to benefit no fewer than four million MSMES in the country
According to him, “This is not just about lending; we are building capacity by training the youth. We are ensuring that we can empower them through financing.
“We are also ensuring that we can find a new market for this MSMEs, so that any product or service they come up with they can find an outlet for it.”
He also revealed that the bank would organise training programmes that would take them beyond the shores of Nigeria.
“So that they can be better when they return. Financing we expect that about 700,000 to a million people will be impacted but overall the programme will impact about four million MSMEs, youths and women,” he said.
Ogbonna thanked the vice-president for granting them the opportunity to partner with the Federal Government.
On his part, Mr. Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job Creation and MSMEs, Office of the Vice-President, reiterated the readiness of the Federal Government to partner with the private sector to support SMEs.
He said: “President Bola Tinubu has told the entire world that Nigeria is ready and truly we are ready. Our doors are open for business and partnership.
“And you cannot thrive in this economy without the private sector and nor can the private sector thrive alone with the public sector.
“So for us it is a partnership that has come to at the right time. They have pledged N30 billion for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at a discounted rates of between 15 and 17 per cent.
“This is a viable opportunities for MSMEs and it not a programme that we will need to have another conference or a meeting for, it starts now.”