Capital is crucial in driving sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises’(SMEs’) growth and uplifting the economy. First Bank of Nigeria Limited, as part of the launch of its specialised SMEs’ propositions, has continually supported SMEs through diverse initiatives. The bank says its support for SMEs is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive on improved funding for SMEs to ensure economic growth and development.
The economies of great nations thrive on the strength and performance of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) seen as engine of growth.
For Nigeria, the Central Bank (CBN) defines SMEs as enterprises with asset base (excluding land) of between N5 million and N500 million and labour force of 11 and 300 people.
The benefits of funding SMEs have attracted many banks with eye on the future to invest and support SMEs in the interest of the economy.
For SMEs to achieve these goals, operators’ easy access to credit must be promoted.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited is one of the banks that is investing and supporting SMEs. Following research by the bank over the years, it identified these seven strategic pillars that are essential to the sustainability and growth of the SMEs.
These include access to infrastructure, access to talent, capacity building, policy and regulation, access to resources, access to market as well as access to finance.
The bank has also held its SMEs’ Week in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano and Owerri. The week-long event was rounded off with a live webinar, facilitated by Gbenga Shobo, the bank’s Deputy Managing Director.
According to Shobo, “FirstBank has, over the years, been at the forefront of supporting businesses, especially the SMEs, as we recognise that the SMEs are the engine of the economy.
We are committed to ensuring that we leave no stone unturned as we connect with them in their continued contribution to national development in terms of the employment opportunities they create as well as their contribution to the nation’s GDP amongst many economic values.
“The FirstBank SME Week is driven to promote the Bank’s SME proposition, thereby having SMEs across the country optimally enlightened on how to plug in. We believe this will help SMEs bolster their contribution to the growth and development of the economy.”
The 2019 Nigeria banking industry customer experience survey report recently published by KPMG Nigeria showed that in the retail segment, the top two performers have remained the same for the fourth consecutive year.
GTBank, Zenith Bank are top-rated bank in the 2019 ranking. Sterling Bank, FirstBank and UBA are the biggest movers in 2019, coming in third, fifth and seventh places.