The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) has promised to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to access credit at a single-digit rate.
This is as the government has created some initiatives to improve access to finance for MSMEs in order to boost production, increase the value of trade, enhance the investment climate, foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
According to NAN, this disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Maryam Katagum, on Friday when members of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) visited her in Abuja.
Katagum said that during the recent retreat that President Buhari had with the ministers, a lot of positive things were said about the MSMEs.
She said, “In his closing speech, Mr. President specifically said that every support will be given to ensure that MSMEs have access to credits.
“That is what we always preach and we will give every support to the MSMEs as the engine of economic growth to have access to credits at single digits.’’
The minister acknowledged the critical role that MSMEs play in developing the economy, which was further heightened during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Katagum said, “Even the woman selling groundnut or `akara’ couldn’t come out to practice her passion and everybody felt the effect of the lockdown. We have to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for interventions that were provided for MSMEs during the lockdown.
“And once it was identified to put in some mechanism to stop the economy from going under, our ministry is one of the ministries asked to make submissions to see how to keep the economy going and ensure free flow of goods and services across the country.
“Our proposal was very easily accepted and the sum of N75 billion was allocated and we made a lot of progress. Average Nigerians appreciated the efforts and we have seen them giving their testimonies and right now we are on the last track which is the guaranteed off-take scheme.’’
She appealed to the association to identify innovative ways that the Federal Government can assist MSMEs.
She said, “As partners, your association has to start thinking of new innovative ways that we can assist MSMEs, it’s not just the finance.
“Some, when you give them the money, they don’t know what to do with the money so you need to intensify the capacity building and sharing of information to know what is happening and where.’’
Speaking at the occasion, the President and Chairman of the governing council of NASME, Dr. Abdulrashid Yerima, expressed the association’s commitment to deepen the relationship with the ministry and sought the appointment of members of the association to the boards of parastatals under the ministry.
The Federal Government had earlier set up the FGN special intervention fund for MSMEs (National Enterprise Development Programme) to provide subsidized loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) at single digit (9% per annum) all-inclusive interest rate. The Fund is also to cater for applications received from SMEDAN under the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) Scheme.