Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance, says the federal government will establish a Development Bank to provide support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
Adeosun made this known while speaking on the finance policy of the government at the Wealth Creation Platform, organised by the Kingsway Christian Centre (KICC).
The minister said the bank will begin operation in January 2017 with an initial start-off capital of $1.3 billion.
She noted that SMEs contribute over 50 percent to Nigeria’s GDP, hence why the government is investing in the sector in other to boost the economy at the grassroots level.
“SMEs are 50 percent of our GDP. It is obvious that if you invest in the SMEs that is where the growth in the economy can occur. Investing in the sector will unlock the potential in the economy,” Adeosun said
“We are putting money into the Development Bank of Nigeria – that is a specialist bank that is focused on channeling low-cost funds to SMEs. It is a project that was supposed to start two years ago but has been stalling.
“We’ve got it going and we’re hoping it will take off in early 2017. That bank has $1.3 billion in capital that will be pumped into SMEs through microfinance banks and a few commercial banks at low cost because we know that once the SMEs grow you’ll start to see a lot more activities,”
She further stated that the Nigerian economy was currently experiencing severe difficulties due to mismanagement of the state’s oil revenue and the over-reliance on oil.
The minister pointed out that one of the problems faced by small businesses is the unavailability of infrastructures. Adeosun also said that the infrastructure and lack of needed facilities were amongst the reason why Nigeria is a difficult place to do business in.
Adeosun said lack of infrastructure is a major reason why it’s difficult to do business in Nigeria.
“So what you should see in 2017 is massive focus on roads; not just government money. There will also be direct private money on rods that could be tolled.
“The gap is too wide, government alone can’t do it, we have to bring in private money and once you bring private money they have to get their money back.
“Even foreign money will be injected into the Road Trust Fund, we’ve got offers from foreign investors who want to come in and invest in our roads.”
She also called on Nigerians – particularly women – to get involved in state politics rather than shying away from such responsibilities and blaming others.
“You can’t just sit there or shy away from the process, you have to get involved. I remember when I was selected to perform as a commissioner in Ogun state, I tried shying away from it but I summoned courage and decided to join part of the change process.”