By Naomi Uzor
The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises NASME, arm of the Organised Private Sector, OPS,Â has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to established an SMEs Bank, saying it will help the sector to do better and contribute meaningfully to the nationâ€™s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) annually.
According to NASME President, Dr.Ike Abugu, the absence of SMEs bank in the country is one of the critical factors stunting the growth of the sector.
Speaking ahead of NASME Patrons and Trustee Dinner, scheduled for next week in Lagos, Abugu said the group strongly believe that an SMEs bank will not only enable fund to be available to operatorsÂ to access and expand their operations , it will do the economy good in terms ofÂ employment generation .
He,Â called on the CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to revive theÂ SME banking that the Obansenjo regime introduced earlier. Head, Public Relations and Membership Service, Mr Nerus Ekezie said that the major highlight of theÂ Â forthcoming patrons and dinner night,Â is the honour, recognition and celebration of NASME patrons and Trustees who have contributed immensely towards the development of SMEs.
The event, he said will also be used for fund raising for the association. â€œOur association has been hard hit by the harsh economic situation in the country. our members , being mainly small businesses, have been hardest hit.
As we do not draw any government or donor subvention, we have no alternative than to use the forum of this nature to raise funds,â€he said.
He disclosed that. the patrons to be hosted include the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa, Minister of Science and Technology Dr. A.B. Zaku, former PDP National Chairman and Agro-Entrepreneur Chief Audu Ogbe, the CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , the Director General of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and Managing Director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria plc Mr. Bisi Onasanya as trustee.
â€œWe have estimated that, in order to take our great association to the level needed for it to fulfill its historical role, we need about one hundred million over the next two years,â€ he said.