SMEs, business registration and bank loans

While there are many challenges facing small businesses in Nigeria, not having access to finance is undoubtedly one of the commonest.

The Nigerian government’s drive to achieve financial inclusion is on course, pending when that materialises, small business owners may continue to find it difficult to access finance to start up or scale their businesses.

As it stands, access to finance is made more difficult, as a greater percentage of the country’s population is still unbanked. Reports have it that about 38 million Nigerian adults remain completely unbanked. This is even as the country ranks 131 among 190 economies in Ease of Doing Business, according to World Bank’s ratings.

As such, not many business owners are equipped for the many challenges. Part of the problem has been that many small business owners do not keep proper record of their business activities; hence lacking proper structure, a necessary criteria for accessing funds.

But small business owners can avert this, if they operate a personal and a business account. The latter gives them easier access to bank loans.

Recently, a Nigerian bank unveiled an online account opening platform for unregistered businesses.

According to the Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank Plc, Mrs Ayodele Olojede, the move is in line with the bank’s goal to maintain its stand as Nigeria’s largest lender in the Small and Medium Enterprises space.

A paperless and seamless digital platform, the account opening allows customers, at home and in the Diaspora, to register their business accounts.

“It is about the millions of local businesses struggling to lay their foundation and growth.

“As part of our commitment to support entrepreneurs and small business owners, we have created a simple, seamless, digital platform for individuals to obtain an affordable and flexible account for their unregistered businesses,” Olojede said.

She, however, stressed the need for proper record or book keeping as a prerequisite for SMEs to access funds.

Beside access to digital loans from N250,000 to N10m, the account opening also enables SMEs access to capacity building programmes, she said.

“It also provides business registration at a discounted rate for those unregistered businesses. We believe and support SMEs for the major role they play in most economies, particularly in developing countries,” she added.

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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