June 19, 2009

Micro-finance banks to get $8.4m grant

By Emeka Mamah

Kaduna — The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Alhaji Mustapha Bello, yesterday, said that six micro-finance banks in the country will receive about $8.4 million grant this year.

Bello said that the lifeline was to address the problem of poor access to loan and equity capital confronting micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria.

He spoke in Kaduna while addressing participants at the Business Development Services Fair jointly organized by the World Bank and the Federal Government.

According to Bello, the grants awarded by the MSME Project, a joint pilot project of the Federal Government and the World Bank, were expected to attract over $20 million worth of new private sector investment to the micro-finance institutions.

Bello further said that the six micro-finance banks are currently serving over 800,000 active clients, including over 50,000 active borrowers.

“Access to finance is a significant problem for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria. MSMEs have poor access to both loan and equity capital,” he said.

“To overcome these constraints the project through its access to finance component has broadened and deepened finance provision to MSMEs through the introduction of new financial institutions.

“A total of $8.4million of grants has been approved for six micro-finance banks-ACCION, SUSU, IMFB (opened a branch in Kaduna), MIC, LFS, and Microcred (will be operating from Kaduna)…

“In this respect we recognize the important role the MSMEs play in harnessing the forces of economic growth to benefit the poor and have identified access to both financial and non-financial support as critical to the growth of Nigerian MSMEs.

“This is especially important as the current global economic and financial crisis will have significant impact on emerging economies,” he added.

Earlier, the Team Leader, World Bank/MSME Nigeria Project, Mr. Emeka Ile said that the project was working in Kaduna State with the New Nigeria Foundation to promote rice production chain.