Fidelity Pledges More Support for MSMEs

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Oluchi Chibuzor

Fidelity Bank Plc has reinstated its commitment to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs in the country by supporting micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) through its funding connect initiatives.

Speaking at a Fidelity Bank Plc Radio Clinic show for SMEs, monitored on Inspiration FM in Lagos, yesterday, the General Manager/Regional Bank Head, Ikeja, Mr. Ken Opara, said the programe has helped in building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs.

According to him: “We want to build the next generations of Nigerians entrepreneurs and we see a huge space in the sector.

“Today we have over one million SMEs in our books, apart from those that access our platform at the SMEs radio or through our other programmes, and we have also supported them through capacity programme, hand-holding and different cluster approach.”

On his part, the Chief Operation and Information Officer, Fidelity Bank, Gbolahan Joshua, said the bank would never stop lending, it was not affected by the new Central Bank loan to deposit ratio policy.

Fidelity Bank recently announced a collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to provide funding for SMEs operating in Nigeria, through its Funding Connect that holds on August 7.

“This programme is not about growing our loan book is about supporting entrepreneurs. Will now engaging with them more on digital platforms because their audience and customers are now going digital.

“So we have to move them to those platforms for their product to meet a wider network,” Joshua explained.

Reacting to the new lending windows open for MSMEs in the country, Chief Economist, Development Bank of Nigerian (DBN), Prof. Joseph Nnanna said, the way forward was continuous capacity building for anybody wanting to play in the real space sector.

Nnanna urged MSME operators to remain committed to their business, saying, “you just do not take money and expect to grow business without understanding the nature of your business and how to manage various function and department within your business.

“For instance, if record keeping is a challenged, then perhaps is important to know both book-keeping and financial accounting to understand your various flows and cash flows mechanism within your business, but yet there is an avenue to grow as long we realised we are learning.

“Consequently, I am very optimistic even with this new circular that just came out by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to push and compel commercial banks to fund the real sector.

“Ultimately, it is a good thing. We still have to build the capacity of MSMEs to absorb those type of funds or else what will happen is probably that non-performing loans (NPLs) will occur if they do not manage the funds well.”