Omodele Adigun and Chinwendu Obienyi
Out of the N29billion Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) funds advanced to Fidelity Bank for disbursement, the bank has so far disbursed N9billion.
This was disclosed recently by its Divisional Head, Managed SMEs , Osaigbovo Omorogbe.
According to him, funding is one of the biggest problem SMEs are facing in the country and Fidelity Bank is SMES friendly in terms of funding, adding that most of funding disbursed by his bank comes from Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) like BOI, DBN and Infrastructural Bank and others coming from Nigeria and outside the country.
“we also know that venture capital, private equity firms will provide them with longer term funds and more stable funds which is why we are putting this SME funding connect initiative together. so we are trying to solve their funding needs by creating this platform.
“As at 2017, N112billion was disbursed by BOI to the SME segment, we did about N16billion , that is about 14 per cent. As at end of Q1 2018, BOI disbursed about N6billion to our SME customers and we are enjoying more. DBN gave us N28 billion and from the money we have disbursed about N9.6billion so far and we have about almost N9 billion to be disbursed.”
Currently the bank is in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to kick-start the SME funding connect initiative.
Speaking to pressmen in Lagos on the event recently , its Managing Director, , Nnamdi Okonwo, noted that the bank came up with the initiative to deepen the conversation around funding which remains the biggest headache of SMEs.
Okonkwo who was represented by Executive Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said, “ Fidelity Bank is an SME-friendly bank and we deemed it necessary to do something that directly affects our base as a bank. We have a lot of SME customers who we have worked with and some that we are still working with and a lot of us knows that the SMEs are the engine of any economy that is growing and as we well know from the statistics of SMEDAN, we have over 40 million registered SMEs in Nigeria and we know that SMEs contribute 80 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria and cannot ignore them”.
Omorogbe, said the event would hold in in centres around the country, starting in Lagos on the August 7, Port Harcourt, Kano and hopefully one other location.
His words: “The theme for the Lagos event is titled Entreprenurship meets capital and we will be having sector target discussions. There is no launching involved and we have decided to bring others in the fore and create a platform for ideas sharing”.
For his part, Nigeria Chief Economist and Partner, PwC, Andrew Nevin, noted that this programme could develop more SMEs which in turn would contribute its quota to the development of the economy.