The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has announced that it planned to disburse N150 billion to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country this year as part of its sustained efforts towards providing funding support for key sectors of the economy.
The bank’s Chief Economist, Prof. Joseph Nnanna, who disclosed this on Monday during a media chat, explained that the disbursement would be done through participating financial institutions for onward lending to MSMEs across key sectors of the economy.
According to him, the financing by the development finance institution this year is targeted at about 120,000 MSMEs nationwide.
He explained: “I think we are on track to get there so we have a target to disburse around N150 billion this year and so far we are making some good progress but the year isn’t over yet and the state of the economy is a bit in flux.
“A lot of Nigerians are challenged, a lot of businesses are challenged, the interest rate is increasing and as a result, we know that these business owners will need some able room to breathe”, the economic expert added.
The banker recalled that the bank had, through its past interventions, enhanced the MSME sub-sector’s growth with the increasing employment rate in the sub-sector over the past few years.
He expatiated: “If you look at what we have done across the country, we have been able to impact over 300, 000 MSMEs, and this cuts across trade, education, manufacturing, agriculture, and ICT.
“By and large, we have seen some growth across the MSME space because we measure the job creation levels of the money we disburse through our participating financial institutions. Over 240, 000 jobs have been created so far and that is commendable”, Nnanna stressed.
The DBN chief said that to achieve the objectives of the bank’s funding and other support for the MSMEs nationwide, the participating financial institutions should provide the needed aid for MSMEs to continue to grow amidst the prevailing economic challenges in the country.
Also, he projected that the high interest rates and uncertainty in the agriculture sector in view of the plan by the Cameroon government to open up the dam might increase flooding risks which will damage a lot of crops during the year.
Nnanna expressed the believe that there is probably more now than ever development financial institutions had to do to support the MSMEs and agribusiness owners, assuring that “our commercial banks and microfinance banks will surely intervene and support those actors in their space who need some cushion to continue to grow.”
The DBN’s Chief Economist promised that DBN would strengthen collaborations with stakeholders in the sector to achieve its target of financial inclusion nationwide.