The Managing Director/CEO, Development Bank of Nigeria Plc, Tony Okpanachi, has emphasized the importance of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to the socio-economic development of the region and the country.
Okpanachi gave the indication at the bank’s second Micro, Small, and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) summit recently held in Kano in line with its mandate of providing access to finance to small businesses in Nigeria.
According to him, “It has become imperative for us to pull resources together and channel collaborative efforts towards building the capacity of the MSMSE as a way revitalizing their operations to address the challenge of access to finance. This will guarantee their growth and boost the economic potentials of this critical sub-sector.”
Commenting further, Okpanachi stated that: “The summit is one of DBN’s stakeholder engagement strategies aimed at creating awareness around our mandate of providing access to finance, capacity building, and partial credit guarantees to the MSMEs in Nigeria. This is important because they play a crucial role in accelerating economic growth through poverty alleviation, job, and wealth creation.”
He noted that the choice of Kano was informed by the economic importance of the great city of Kano to commercial activities in northern Nigeria. “Hosting this event in Kano is apt as it will help us better understand the financial constraints faced by MSMEs in the state.”
“Kano plays a major economic role in the northern business terrain and the challenges that MSMEs have to contend with are not different from those faced internationally. They include access to finance, value chains, and markets. A PwC report in 2020 identified obtaining finance, finding customers, and infrastructure deficits as the most pressing problems of MSMEs in Nigeria’.
Okpanachi highlighted that “according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria have contributed about 48% of the national GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the last five years. With a total number of about 17.4 million, they account for about 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of the manufacturing sector”.
He further added that “though significant growth has been achieved in the MSME sector, there is still much to be done.
“It is therefore pertinent for us as a Bank to champion the conversation on how MSMEs can win despite these challenges, by exposing ways through which MSMEs can benefit from our sustainable financial offerings”. He said.
He concluded with a commitment that, “DBN will continue to work towards building the capacity of MSMEs, eliminating the financing constraints faced by this sector of the economy and transforming them into instruments of positive and sustained change.”
For his part, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje represented by the Head of Service, Alhaji Usman Bala Mohammed, in his goodwill message stated that the summit coincides with the Kano state development plan aimed at accelerating industrial growth which in turn will provide an enabling environment for commerce to thrive and for the economy to grow. He further urged entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the summit to seek solutions to their business challenges.
In his keynote address, Alhaji Tajudeen Dantata, CEO of Dantata Foods said; “for us to discuss inclusive financing, we must recognize the important role of the MSMEs as key players in the Nigerian economy, the role of the DBN working in conjunction with their participating financial institutions in addressing the financial constraints faced by the MSMEs”.
He went further to elaborate on the synergies that must exist in the financial and the MSME ecosystem as a key factor to addressing sustainable funding challenges faced by entrepreneurs with a call on DBN to take the bull by the horn by providing the much-needed financial inclusion leadership needed in the region by setting aside tailored made funding solutions that takes cognizance of the peculiarity of this part of the country. This he emphasized, will complement the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The summit themed on the role of Development Bank in Inclusive Financing was attended by Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in Kano and across the northwestern region as well as government agencies and stakeholders across sectors including traditional rulers.