Fidelity Bank Plc, top Nigerian lender has reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing the productivity and prosperity of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country by providing capacity building and advisory services, innovative funding options and other forms of relevant support that would significantly improve their overall contributions to national development.
Speaking at the just-concluded Fidelity SME National Capacity Building Webinar, the Bank’s CEO, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe provided insights into Fidelity bank’s unique approach to managing MSMEs, also pointed out that SMEs which are businesses with less than N100m annual turnover, contribute about 48% of national GDP, account for 96% of businesses and 84% of employment in Nigeria.
She noted that despite the significant contribution of SMEs to the Nigerian economy, challenges still persist that hinder the growth and development of the sector. Chief among these are funding, lack of infrastructure, poor management, low entrepreneurial skills, improper planning, poor digital skills, etc.
The SME National Capacity Building Webinar for entrepreneurs in Enugu State was organized by Fidelity Bank, in collaboration with the Enugu State Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the Enugu SME Centre; Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN); Nigeria Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME) and Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA).
The webinar which will continue its round across the country on a state-by-state basis, is part of concerted efforts to assist entrepreneurs across all sectors of the Nigerian economy develop requisite capacity to unlock their full potentials and take their businesses to the next level of growth.
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe, during her remark, noted that the nation-wide webinar seeks to proffer appropriate solutions to these challenges in a very practicable manner.
She explained: “We have a dedicated SME Desk with innovative products and services to assist your business. Fidelity Bank, in partnership with various private and public institutions provides funding, business advisory services for all our customers. This webinar is an excellent opportunity to network, share information and deepen the SME sector in Enugu State.”
With the theme, “Funding and Financial Management”, the Enugu Edition had in attendance special guests including the First Lady of Enugu State, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Roban Stores, Sir Robert O. Anwatu; and Director, Michelle Laboratories Limited, Mr. Chiedozie Atuegwu, among others.
In her remarks, Mrs. Ugwuanyi applauded the bank for its unrelenting support for MSMEs in Enugu State, stating that the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration has remained at the forefront of SME development in Nigeria as exemplified by its continuous investments in infrastructure deployment and provision of labor policy frameworks to further encourage investments.
Also speaking at the event, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) Dr. Aminu Gwadabe commended the bank for its sustained efforts at promoting MSMEs nationwide. Gwadabe noted that the bank had been very supportive to its 5,000 licensed members nationwide. “The Bureau De Change (BDC) does about N1.4 trillion (transactions) per annum. Fidelity Bank controls 60 percent of these transactions in the country”, he explained.
Shedding more light on the dynamics of the Bureau De Change sector, Dr. Gwadabe revealed that exchange rate stability was determined by the country’s SME structure. Given the immense potentials inherent in the nation’s MSME space, he said that the fledgling sector, if properly positioned, could assist the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) achieve its mandate on exchange rate stability.