Banks must consider empowering SMEs– Expert

Deposit Money Banks have been charged to make the empowerment of Small and Medium Enterprises a priority, to advance financial inclusion in the country.

Speaking at the annual conference of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in Abuja, yesterday, the Executive Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Bolaji Lawal, said that capital had over the years been the major challenge, adding that the only way to boost the sector was to provide capital for the sector considered to be the “highest employer of labour.”

According to him, the bank has taken note of the importance of the Micro, Small Medium Enterprises,hence it lends to businesses at nine per cent interest.

He also noted that banks must embrace digital technology to solve long-term economic problems.

“Digital solutions to financial and banking problems must be targeted for long and not short term gains. It must be targeted at improving all forms of tax, Customs duties and health, as well as reduce crime and above all drive real economic growth.

“There are about 60m unbanked adult Nigerians who can be drawn into the financial sector using technology. The only way this can be achieved is to get them into the system and provide credit to them to drive growth,” he added.

Lawal maintained that the financial institution had leveraged on technology to improve revenues and enhance different channels of payment through digital transmission and automation.

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