By Yinka Kolawole
The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has lent at least N70 billion to over 50,000 micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) in less than two years since its establishment.
DBN was established in 2017 to alleviate financing constraints faced by MSMEs in Nigeria through providing financing, partial credit guarantees and technical assistance to eligible financial intermediaries on a market-conforming and fully financially sustainable basis.
Chairman, Board of directors, DBN, Shehu Yahaya, disclosed this at the maiden edition of the bank’s lecture series held in Abuja.
He said the bank was established to promote growth, enhance job creation and help to tackle challenges of poverty in the country.
Yahaya stated: “For DBN, it is early days yet. But we can say that in the first one and a half years of commencement of operation, the bank has lent more than N70 billion and impacted on more than 50,000 MSMEs.”
In his remark, Managing Director, DBN, Tony Okpanachi, said access to finance remains a major challenge for the over 41.5 million MSMEs in Nigeria.
He said: “MSMEs are the largest employers in many low-income countries including Nigeria, yet their viability and growth is restricted by lack of access to long-term debt capital. MSMEs are the backbone for inclusive economic growth. In advanced economies, small businesses have been seen to be the driving force in achieving growth in all sectors of the economy they operate.
“Discussion from today’s lecture would help to upscale the capacity of private-finance initiates to lend to MSMEs and improve their capacity across all sectors of the economy to access and use finance efficiently.
“DBN is positioned to play a focal and catalytic role in providing funding and risk-sharing guarantees.”
The Guest Speaker, Donald Kaberuka, former president of African Development Bank (AfDB) said MSMEs are the drivers of inclusive growth everywhere.
“In many ways Nigeria is showing a lot of dynamism in this area; – from agribusiness, retail and consumer, hospitality, entertainment, small startups in the digital space. There’s no doubt that DBN is off to that trajectory and will be a key factor in unlocking the potential of this great country,” he stated.