The Federal Government has kick started a N1bn special credit line for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives in Lagos State.
The scheme is being driven through the National Enterprise Development Programme,
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said the direct micro-enterprise funding further demonstrated the commitment of the current administration to developing enterprises at the grass roots in order to create jobs, enhance growth and ultimately reduce poverty.
He said NEDEP provided the necessary platform for the sustainable ongoing funding of micro enterprises, adding that the disbursement of the N1bn loan to MSMEs in Lagos was part of the ongoing MSME funding across the 36 states of the federation and would be in phases.
Aganga who spoke in Lagos on Thursday while awarding cheques to the beneficiaries of the first N100m special credit line believed the scheme will help beneficiaries grow their businesses.
NEDEP is an initiative spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and its three parastatals – the Bank of Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria and the Industrial Training Fund.
Aganga said the Ministry, through SMEDAN had established approximately 3,800 cooperatives in Lagos State, noting that about 2,000 of these cooperatives would benefit from the special credit facility.
The beneficiaries are drawn from all the local governments in the state and cut across various activities, including manufacturing, agribusiness, retail trade and electrical works among others.
The loans are given at single digit interest rates to the beneficiaries who also receive some form of training and skills development.
He said the National Council on MSME was working extensively with the CBN to ensure that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund reached the intended beneficiaries in all the states of the federation.
The ministry is also working with micro finance banks and commercial banks to increase overall access to the fund.
Just last week, the Federal Government launched the first Nigerian Business Development Services Network for effective and productive performance of MSMEs in Nigeria.
The N39.6bn ($200m) project, called the Nigerian Business Development Services Network, is a network of private sector business development service providers that will work with MSMEs across the country to mentor them, provide support services and link them up with financial institutions.
Speaking during the launch of the NBDS and the unveiling of the National Business Development Services Market Place in Abuja, Aganga said that the new initiative marked another milestone in the current administration’s determination to reposition the MSME sector as the major driver of inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Nigeria.
He said, “Today marks another milestone in the development of the MSME sector in the country. Over the course of this administration, we have championed the course of MSMEs and we have made them the centre of economic policy; we have treated them as a distinct sector and we have developed policies and programmes to enable them grow and contribute significantly to GDP growth.
“Today, we are launching the Nigerian Business Development Services Network, a network of private sector business development service providers that will work with MSMEs across the country to mentor them, provide support services and enable linkages with financial institutions.”
Aganga noted that in the latest survey on MSMEs, it emerged that access to funding was the biggest challenge for MSMEs in the country, pointing out that approximately 84.6 per cent of small businesses in Nigeria had to resort to personal savings and borrowing from friends and families.
This, he said, was changing due to specific reforms by the current administration to address the anomaly.