The managing director/CEO, Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo has advocated strong partnership between the government and relevant stakeholders the growth and development of Small and Medium Enterprises and youth entrepreneurship in the country.
This, he said, will allow the country attain sustainable solutions to economic recovery.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with a theme: ‘Economic Recovery, Inclusion & Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance’ in Abuja recently, Sekibo said, one of the key areas where government, financial institutions and other stakeholders can move this nation from poverty to prosperity is through conscious creation of viable environment for small businesses and young entrepreneurs to thrive.
This, he added, was because they are the backbone of local economies around the world – they happen to be the biggest employers, job creators and contributors of the national gross domestic products.
“We cannot talk about moving from poverty to prosperity without taking SMEs very seriously in this country. We must support the SMEs sector reform through providing infrastructure, providing loans to farmers and ensuring interest rate loans is single digit,” he affirmed.
Sekibo, who was represented at the conference by the regional head, Abuja-1, Daniel Oniko, stated that, giving SMEs and young entrepreneurs leverage to contribute immensely to the development of their host community through engaging the youths and unemployed individuals will bring about and facilitate economic recovery.
He emphasised that the role of SMEs in creating and sustaining national development in relation to job creation has been considered a key tool in modern-day poverty alleviation, economic emancipation, and total well-being.
Speaking earlier, the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, said emerging challenges require that the banking and finance sector takes on more transformative projects such as housing and renewable energy.
The VP acknowledged that the banking and finance sector has over the years played significant roles in the nation’s economic development.
According to Osinbajo, “it is time for the sector to take on some of the transformative big-ticket items that would fundamentally transform our economy. Such matters include consumer finance but housing finance.”
In his goodwill message, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele stated that, the banking sector remained well positioned to support the recovery efforts of the monetary and fiscal authorities.
“Clearly, Nigeria’s banks have become not only strong and resilient but have also carved a good niche in the world to consolidate on the growth and resilience of the banks in the last decades”, he added.