Access Bank Targets 30,000 Customers, as Osibanjo flags off MSME Clinic in Ebonyi

Vice President Yemi Osibanjo on Thursday launched Ebonyi state edition of National Micro, Small and Medium Businesses (MSMEs) Clinic at Ecumenical Center in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital.

Osibanjo said that the Federal government was encouraged by the number of MSMEs he interacted with when he arrived the state and further expressed confidence that with the launch of the Clinic, rapid development of not only Ebonyi bstste but the country at large is imminent.

“Msme is the engine room of the economy and federal government has worked and created enabling environment for MSME to strive because of ease of doing business in the country”.

Nigeria is one of the Ist tenth reforming economies in the world. On January, 13, 2020, FG signed the Finance Act which exempted companies with turn over of below N25 million from paying taxes. Also, 10 percent reduction of income tax of companies with turn over of N25 million and above,” Osibanjo said.

Osibanjo assured Small and Medium Enterprises Owners of Federal Government’s commitment towards solving some of the challenges facing the establishment and operations of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs in the country.

The Vice President who listed some of the challenges to include access to credit facilities, big machines, registration of products and overzealousness of government officials expressed optimism that the empowerment of MSMEs would lead to the economic growth of the country.

The world over, Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, MSMEs, served as the engine room for economic growth of societies, as they are often significant employers of skilled and un-skilled labour, and are usually the key service providers to government and large corporations.

“Over the years in Nigeria, MSMEs have played a vital role in the overall economic growth of the country as they have consistently contributed significantly towards improving capacity, standard of living and bringing about substantial local capital formation, power productivity and capability.

“In view of available statistics, the Govermment of Nigeria has found it imperative to initiate programs such as this to help to re-position MSMEs so as to drive inclusive economic growth, regional development, employment generation and poverty reduction as well as promote broad based equitable development to promote more opportunities for youth participation in the economic development of the country.”

According to him, 90 billion fund has been earmarked for agricuture based MSMEs by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN as National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC is rolling out an E-platform for registration of products.

The Group Head, Retail Banking Division, East, Access Bank, Mr. Charles Oguibe, disclosed that the Bank targets about 30,000 customers to be empowered to start up MSMEs in 2020.

Speaking in Abakaliki during the flag off of the National MSMEs Clinic, Oguibe noted that Access Bank partners with the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo to drive the MSMEs in Nigeria.

Oguibe said that Access Bank has significantly invested on MSMEs, engendering an expanded lendi g at a growth rate of 30 percent over a 3-year period.

Harping on the edition of the National MSME Clinic being Flagged off in Abakaliki, the Group Head noted that it is one of the strategies and initiatives of the Federal government for improving local manufacturing and bringing together key Frontline Government agencies and stakeholders to interact together with a view of removing impending bottlenecks for MSMEs in the country.

He further assured that Ebonyi state stands to gain alot from the MSME clinic from the Access Bank especially in the area of providing funds, knowledge and market for doing businesses.

Access Bank is a Private Sector Partner of the office of the Vice President in driving the MSME conversation in Nigeria. Particularly, in this clinic, we are partnering with the office of the Vice President. We have developed over time, skills, knowledge and experience and that’s why Access Bank is driving MSME in Nigeria”.

“In Nigeria, MSME has three basic problems which include: access to information and knowledge; access to finance; and access to market. Ebonyi state stands to gain alot on this clinic. For those of them who want finance, they should come and open and operate account with Access Bank and we provide funds for them to start up businesses. There are people who may need knowledge, so we provide knowledge for them and also for those that need access to market, we will also teach and guide them access to Market to drive their businesses”.

“So, if your bank is not supporting your business with loans, it’s time to change your bank. At Access Bank, we have invested in the provision of ecosystem of solutions to support our customers because we know that it is the advantage your business needs to have an edge over others. We have progressed from impacting 4,000 customers a year to 12,000 customers in 2018 and the paln for 2020 is 30,000 customers. We hold MSME Clinics where business owners have one on one engagements on their business issues with consultants”.

“We support business with affordable e-commerce platform, technology offering for efficiency- from our mobile app. Over N2billion naira has been granted to about 600 Health practitioners. For school owners, we support them with upgrade of facilities, laboratory equipments, books, school uniforms and staff salaries. Over N500 million granted to about 300 schools,”  Access Bank Group Head said.

Ebonyi state Governor, Chief David Umahi said the state government has approved N2 billion for MSME owners in the state.

Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki

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