The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, has called for increased support for micro, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
This, he said, would enable the country achieve its quest for double-digit economic growth.
Noting the improvement in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to 2.27 percent in 2019, from 1.91 percent in 2018, Sekibo said that increasing support to MSMEs, given their dominant role in the economy, would help to leapfrog Nigeria to double digit GDP growth rate.
Highlighting the importance of MSMEs contributions to the nation’s economy, he said: “Nigeria has 41.5 million MSMEs which contributed about 48 percent of the GDP in the last five years. With a total number of about 17.4 million, MSMEs account for about 50 percent of industrial jobs and nearly 90 percent of the manufacturing sector, in terms of number of enterprises in the country.”
According to him, there are lots of opportunities for the country in MSMEs and Heritage Bank is taking the lead through various initiatives such as its youth entrepreneurship development program which is aimed at increasing the contributions of the MSME segment to the economy.
Speaking in a chat, Sekibo said for Nigeria to achieve its aim as giant of Africa or as an economy to be reckoned with in the world, a lot of mileage needs to be covered in the SMEs subsector.
He stated, “The contribution of the MSMEs to the Nigerian economy cannot be undermined. So if the MSMEs are supported financially and they take their rightful place in the economy of Nigeria, it will create a lot of middle class income earners which is very vital to the economy of any nation.
“Heritage Bank is collaborating with relevant operators of MSMEs to help them grow into big and sustainable businesses because we believe some of these businesses are critical to the survival of the nation.”
He explained that the entrepreneur schemes of the bank in the support for business had always focused on dependable job-creating sectors, such as agricultural value chain (fish farming, poultry, snail farming), cottage industry, mining and solid minerals, creative industry (tourism, arts and crafts), and Information and Communications Technology (ICT).