The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has called for accessible financing for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at single digit rate.

The Minister made the call in her goodwill message at the virtual EcoBank MSME and Financial Inclusion Summit with the theme “Unlocking Credit Growth in a Changing MSME Lending Landscape” today.

Amb. Katagum charged Ecobank PLC and the financial sector to continue in the provision of much needed support for the Federal Government’s initiatives by granting accessible financing for the MSMEs at single digit rate.

According to the Minister of State, “As partners in progress, I charge Ecobank PLC and the Financial Sector as a whole, to continue to provide the much-needed support for Federal Government initiatives by facilitating and granting accessible financing for the MSME sub-sector, at single digit! I repeat at single digit!”.

The Minister stated that she was delighted to be part of the event which came at a time when the present administration is strategically repositioning the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) landscape towards achieving its full potentials with a view to contributing more to the economy.

According to the Minister “It is in this regard that I commend the efforts of the management of Ecobank PLC, for being the major sponsors of this event and more importantly, for your sustained commitment in providing credit to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the country. I must also commend the partnership with Vanguard Newspapers towards ensuring the success of this event.

Distinguished participants, there is no doubt that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises are regarded as the driving force behind structural changes and sustainable economic growth and development, particularly with respect to their contributions to job and wealth creation. These enterprises play a big role in the economy and are crucial drivers of innovation and competition in many sectors of the economy”.

Amb. Katagum stated that “The Federal Government has overtime created platforms to improve access to finance for MSMEs in order to boost production, increase the value of trade, enhance the investment climate, foster innovation and entrepreneurship. This is in addition to the deliberate and pragmatic policies geared towards supporting and sustaining small businesses in the country, thereby equipping entrepreneurs to compete globally, especially under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). These initiatives also take into account the importance of digital technology in promoting enterprises and sustainable industrialization for economic growth”.

She explained further that in a bid to guarantee continuity in support of MSMEs in the country, the Federal Government harnessed the prime policies of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) into the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) in order to sustainably create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, adding that these policies were aimed at boosting productivity levels of businesses in the country, thereby accelerating the growth of the domestic market and creating profitable connections to regional, continental and global markets.

The Minister stated other pro-MSME interventions by government included the recent approval of the revised National Policy on MSMEs, the planned floating of an MSME Micro Finance Bank by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), and government’s emphasis on single digit interest credit facility for MSMEs.
She stated that “Undoubtedly, the Financial Sector plays a critical role in the development of these MSMEs, by providing credit facilities for start-ups and for business expansion.

Under the MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Schemes, Government earmarked N75 billion for the revival and sustainability of MSMEs which have been severely affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. These Schemes had, in the last few months, injected a large quantum of funds into the hands of the operators of MSMEs and their businesses; and invariably reflated the economy”.

Amb. Katagum therefore reiterated the commitment of the Ministry to continually engage critical stakeholders in ensuring policies are rightly initiated, developed and implemented for the overall economic wellbeing of the country.

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