BY KINGSLEY OKOH, Lagos
With the World Bank estimating that about 15 to 20 million Nigerians will be impoverished by 2022, there is the need to leverage social capital to boost the informal economy as the nation works to lift 100million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030.
The federal government has taken steps to address these issues through initiatives. These initiatives provide cheap funds for small business owners to access and grow their business. Founder, Mamamoni Initiative, Nkem Okocha, in a chat with me, says what small business owners need is just the right information on how to access these funds.
Remittances And Insurance
Okocha explains that access to savings mechanisms and ability to send and receive payments, allow people become a part of the formal financial system. It also allows them take part in financial services like, loans, remittances, and insurance. This in turn can provide more opportunities for economic growth.”
He further advises that initiatives like GEEP have real life impact on the lives of the people. Okocha says that these government initiatives form cheap sources of funds to finance business and called on SME operators to take advantage of them.
“The model adopted by GEEP, indicates that the Nigerian government has not been unresponsive to the state of poverty in the nation, and is developing interventions and initiatives for the poor population particularly women who represent a large percentage of vulnerable groups.”
He called on the artisans, SMEs and entrepreneurs, to subscribe to these initiatives to fund and expand their business, mentioning that the AGSMEIS initiative, is another one of the many federal government Intervention efforts to promote agri-businesses in the country. It also provides support to other SMEs to facilitate employment generation and sustainable economic development.
The Development Bank Of Nigeria
He again encourages Nigerians to make use of the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) loans. They can be accessed through the participating financial institutions (PFIs). As such, one must apply through his or her bank. PFIs include commercial banks, development finance institutions, and microfinance banks. The loan tenure is up to 10 years with a moratorium period of 18 months.
The Central Bank Of Nigeria
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund is one of CBN’s intervention funds, launched with a share capital of N220 billion on August 15, 2013. SMEs can apply for up to N10 million at a rate of 5 per cent per annum. Okocha says, “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is also developing programmes that impact the financial well-being of women, key component of which, is advancing women’s financial inclusion.
“Increasing women’s access to financial services is important because their spending has a direct impact on development,” he pointed out.