First Bank CEO: SMEs key to Nigeria’s economic growth

The Chief Executive Officer of First Bank Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, says providing support for small- and medium-sized enterprises remains pivotal to Nigeria’s economic overall growth.

Adeduntan made the submission on Tuesday at the eighth edition of the Ehingbeti/Lagos Economic Summit 2021, themed, ‘For a Greater Lagos: Setting the Tone for the Next Decade.’

He noted that the bank had, through its dedicated ‘SMEConnect’ portal, continued to provide support services such as legal and advisory, skills and capability building, account statement preparation, choice of technology adaptation, and a host of other services to SMEs.

“Our bank, by March 2021, is going to be 127 years in operation, by far the old and largest institution in this part of the world. The reason we have endured and will continue to thrive as an institution is our support to businesses that are relevant to the overall growth and development of the economy, and SMEs is a classic example,” Adeduntan explained.

He pointed out that the Central Bank of Nigeria, as part of its economic stimulus packages, had put in place a scheme to provide more liquidity to banks to support the SME sector.

“If there is anything generally agreed is the fact that the fastest way to grow and develop the Nigerian economy is by developing and growing the SME sector,” Adeduntan said.

The First Bank boss also applauded the Bankers’ Committee’s role, a committee that brings together the governor of the CBN, leadership, and CEOs of various financial institutions, to support the SME sector’s growth.

He said, “A couple of years back, the committee set up a fund where on an annual basis all banks contribute five per cent of their profit after tax to a pool of funds to make funds available for SMEs.”

The three-day Ehingbeti/Lagos Economic Summit is expected to proffer ideas and suggestions better to focus Lagos state as an SMEs’ investment environment.

Ehime Alex
Ehime Alex
Ehime Alex reports the Capital Market, Energy, and ICT. He is a skilled webmaster and digital media enthusiast.

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