The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has commenced the process of drafting a framework for lending to SMEs in the country with the aim of improving credit to the sector.The framework would see more of government intervention in the sector, which many believe would result in job creation for the youths in the nationwide.
Governor of the apex bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele disclosed this at a strategy meeting with selected Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and other stakeholders, on enhancing access to credit to SMEs in the country. Stakeholders at the meeting include the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters in the Vice President’s Office, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Managing Director, Development Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tony Okpanachi, and Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Mr. Olukayode Pitan.
The CBN also lamented the failure of banks to lend to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). He expressed government’s concern that the citizens were yet to feel the impact of the country’s exit from recession, which he attributed to lack of appreciable growth.
Emefiele said although efforts are ongoing to provide funds for SMEs, much still needs to be done. In spite of all effort by the CBN to improve certain parameters of the economy, he said lenders had failed Nigerians. Speakers at the strategy session were unequivocal in their attempt to find solution to the failure of the commercial banks to rescue the situation.
“The SMEs are seen as drivers of growth in any economy. We have used various approaches to stimulate lending to them and I must confess that we are not doing enough on that because less than half of that fund has been disbursed today. We are entering a phase where we believe that the SMEs must be the only priority for growth in our economy. I must say that the Nigerian banking sector has not played an active part in supporting the SMEs, but this is not without reasons. We had issues in the past where people took loans and didn’t pay.” emefiele said.