The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajia Aisha Abubakar has reiterated the Federal Government’s support and commitment to the recently launched Accreditation framework for the provision of Business Development Services (BDS) and the re-launched Credit Information Portal for MSMES by The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). The launching of the business framework and the Credit Portal for MSMEs by SMEDAN and DFID-UK funded Growth and Employment in State (GEMS3) Programme is aimed at developing a national framework for the accreditation of BDS providers in Nigeria, as well as enhancing credit information portal for MSMEs; it is also instrumental to the promotion of BDSPs profile, increase value of MSMEs that will ultimately lead to their growth and improved performances.
The Minister who was represented by a Director in the ministry Mr Adewale Bakare further commended the initiators of the programme because of its impacts to accelerate MSMEs access to finance and business development information which will lead to the provision of sustainable services and growth. She however acknowledged the World Bank ranked position on Ease of Doing Business Index; which is 169th out of 190 countries and pledged the commitment of the Federal Government to improve the ranking index.
“As part of our commitment to improving the access of MSMEs to business support in Nigeria; the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) has one of its objectives focused on MSMEs who have developed bankable business plans, to be able to move easily, access funds that suit their business enterprise in terms of sector, growth stage and dynamics; we are also working assiduously towards diversifying the economy which has enormous potentials. It is been popularly touted that if Nigeria can grow at the rate of 7% GDP with little or no power, it should be able to grow at the rate of 10% - 12% when power is stable. The minister further stressed.
Hajia Abubakar equally thanked DFID through GEMS3 for initiating a project called Women in Investment and Enterprise (WinIE), the project which seeks to build the capacity of women by assisting those who are in clusters groups to access markets (A2M) for their products by linking them to off-takers, which in turn facilitate their access to finance.
Earlier the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, whose agency was part of the conceptualization of these noble and landmark initiatives, intimated the gathering of the Agency’s commitment to improve the business climate in Nigeria and assured that the launching of the accreditation framework and the credit portal is to alleviate the challenges facing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria.
“The Micro, Small and Medium sector urgently needs to move away from talk-shops to actions that will not only accelerate the growth of MSMEs, but make them globally competitive”. Dr. Radda noted.
The SMEDAN Chief Executive however identified lack of credible information on the sources and forms of business finance for MSMEs as a major obstacle facing MSMEs low level of access to finance and finance exclusion, these according him; has further undermined the growth and development in Nigeria.
Dr. Radda, who was visibly pleased with the partnership with GEMS3 on the launch of BDSP accreditation framework and the Credit Information Portal enjoined the public that the launching of the initiative which is double-barreled in nature would change the landscape of Micro, Small and Medium Business financing and competitiveness in Nigeria.
The credit information portal is a web-based platform that is aimed at streamlined and simplified sources of loan information for MSMEs and aids the process of securing credit for personal and business needs. The portal was also developed to bridge the information hurdles faced by MSMEs in accessing finance and to create a new channels of engagement for Micro-finance and Commercial banks.
More so, the launching event provided information on the BDS accreditation process to financial institution, BDSPs and The BDS and Portal launching featured a demonstration of the credit information portal and an overview of the process of gaining access to credit.