Nigerian Banks Urged to Address SMEs Challenges


    Emma Okonji

    Edo State Deputy Governor, Honourable Philip Shuaibu, has called for systematic overhaul of the banking sector in Nigeria that will redirect their focus on the development of small businesses (SMEs) in the country, inline with present economic realities.

    Shuaibu made the call in Lagos recently while receiving an outstanding Humanitarian Service Award presented to him by the Rotary Club of Mushin Metropolitan.

    The deputy governor called for improved palliatives to cushion the sufferings of the SMEs, especially in the area of access to funds from financial institutions.

    He described banks in Nigeria as depository houses with little emphasis on financing small businesses. This, he said has led to the demise of small businesses with brilliant ideas.

    “Banks are collecting indirect collateral, because when they need a guarantor that has the amount that the bank wants to give out as loan to the SME, then the bank is indirectly collecting collateral, which is a disservice to the economy. Remember, the SMEs today will become multinationals tomorrow.

    “Therefore, banks in Nigeria need total overhaul in such a manner they will accommodate engineers, psychologists, sociologists and others with a touch in humanity, as against the present penchant to recruit elegant looking boys and girls with little understanding about business financing,” Shuaibu said.

    He further said: “Without proper care for the SMEs, poverty would continue to multiply as we have seen in the economy today”.

    Earlier, the MD/CEO of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said technology would play a vital role in promoting financial inclusion in the country.

    “I think what is needed is more awareness on various opportunities that are available. I believe very soon we should be able to enhance the level of financial inclusion in Nigeria”, he added.

    Shuaibu, a special guest at the occasion started his speech by heaping praise on the immediate past President of the Club, Rotarian Gregory Otsu for an accomplished tenure- 2017/2018, describing the Club as an institution of repute that has demonstrated great service to humanity.

    He said, “I am happy that what started about a year ago is coming to an end on a positive note. I am happy that Rotarian Gregory Otsu is handing over gracefully. It is my prayer that the incoming President will consolidate on your achievements and even perform better, because Rotary is about impacting lives or serving humanity.

    “I also feel honoured by the Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award given to me by the Rotary Club of Mushin Metropolitan. That is why I strongly believe we should cease from passing bucks rather work harmoniously to tackle issues around poverty- water, health, education and other related indices.”

    He said the measure taken by the club would inspire more programms in the state, whose goal is to reduce poverty among the people of the state.