The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, encouraged players in the financial sector to make available funds for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at single-digit rates.
She said this at the Ecobank MSME and Financial Inclusion event (held virtually) with the theme, ‘Unlocking Credit Growth in a Changing MSME Lending Landscape’.
The minister said, “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.”
Speaking further, Katagum noted steps taken by the Federal Government to ensure that MSMEs in the country were financed to “boost production” and support trade activities.
She said, “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, and 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).
“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, the 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.”