CBN Pledges Increased Financial Interventions To SMEs
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said the bank will increase its development finance interventions to further support start-ups and small and medium enterprises in the country.
Emefiele spoke while delivering the 51st convocation lecture of the University of Lagos, on Monday, with the topic, ‘National development and knowledge economy in the digital age: Leapfrogging SMEs in the 21st century’.
According to him, increased access to finance for start-ups and SMEs is highly essential for the nation’s economy to grow.
He said special consideration should be given to the strengthening of physical and ICT infrastructure to enable SMEs to perform more efficiently and become globally competitive.
He highlighted the critical role of vibrant and growing SMEs to the growth of the economy and the creation of jobs for Nigerian youth.
The CBN governor said the potential of SMEs in enhancing economic growth was hampered by limited access to finance, inadequate infrastructure and poor digital penetration.
Emefiele urged the government and the private sector to provide more support in addressing the challenges of SMEs in the country.
He said policies should incentivise the adoption of innovations that would improve SMEs’ competitiveness and productivity.
He tasked all relevant stakeholders to deepen reforms that would improve human capital development through skills enhancement and proper linkage of research to the SME sector.
He cited examples of other climes that had continued to harness the benefits of the knowledge economy to accelerate economic growth through the contributions of SMEs.
Emefiele urged tertiary institutions in the country to tap into the educational trends that were significant drivers of productivity in advanced and emerging markets, in order to reshape the existing curriculum, enhance the learning experience of students and foster innovation among the faculty and staff in Nigerian institutions.
Congratulating the graduating students, he urged them to take advantage of some of the bank’s initiatives aimed at supporting SMEs such as the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund; Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme; Agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme; Creative Industry Financing Initiative, Targeted Credit Facility and the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund.