Fidelity Bank Plc has disbursed over N100 billion loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the real sector in the first half of the year.
The bank has also leveraged its lending framework to partner with several Development Finance Institutions (DFI) such as, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Bank of Industry (BOI), African Development Bank AfDB) to make low interest prices credits available to SMEs in Nigeria.
Group Head, SME Banking Business, Fidelity Bank Plc, Ms. Esther Obiekwe, while speaking on the sideline of the recent Lagos State Trade Fair said in view of the giant strides achieved in the areas of SMEs growth in Nigeria, the bank was named best SME supportive institution by the DBN, having disbursed over N50b under the DBN on-lending scheme
According to her, the bank is aggressively leveraging cutting-edge digital solutions to improve customer experience in risk asset products to deepen its penetration in the SME segment and boost market share in the industry.
She said the bank is currently building SME advisory hubs across the country where existing and aspiring entrepreneurs (both our SME customers and non-customers) can come in and receive business management knowledge and advice free of charge.
Additionally, Obiekwe said the bank is also building an SME on-line hub that will serve as a one-stop shop for its business advisory services for Nigerian SMEs.
She bemoaned the challenges confronting the SMEs sector in Nigeria, despite that it potentially constitutes the most dynamic firms in emerging economies, limiting their expansion capacity and impeding development.
The issue of lack of funding in SMEs should not even exist given the attractiveness of the sector especially the technology firms. The sector contributes 50 per cent of GDP and generates up to 90 per cent of employment.
According to her, with a 50 per cent contribution to GDP and 90 per cent employment generation, the issue of lack of funding in SMEs should not even exist given the attractiveness of the sector.
“Once the government gets power right, SMEs can save cost and other unnecessary wastage, improve efficiency, grow production capacity and overall output.
From our experience over the years, there are two broad categories of challenges SMEs face in Nigeria, and they are Funding Issues and Non-Funding Issues.
“Critical amongst the non-funding issues are the dearth of infrastructure such as roads, power, ICT etc. as well as government policies which are required to encourage the growth of SMEs in Nigeria.
“For the bank, its long-running support for the growth and development of small businesses in Nigeria stems from its recognition of their strong roles, as critical agents of economic development and transformation in Nigeria,” she said.