First City Monument Bank (FCMB) has explained that its increased and consistent support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) is aimed at further empowering them to take the lead in the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy. According to the Bank, this is because SMEs are one of the key drivers of the country’s push for economic prosperity due to their potential to create jobs, reduce poverty, boost production and economic activities.
Towards this end, the lender has urged business owners to keep pace with current and emerging realities in order to make their respective businesses productive and competitive, which will lead to progress for them and the nation.
FCMB made this known in a statement to commemorate this year’s International MSME Day, which holds every June 27. The annual event provides an opportunity to raise public awareness of the contributions of such businesses towards ensuring sustainable development, poverty alleviation, empowerment and other benefits.
A recent survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) indicate that SMEs in Nigeria accounts for about 96% of registered businesses, employ about 84% of the entire labour force and contribute 48% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
FCMB, as a leading financial powerhouse in Nigeria, has built a strong base and dominated the SMEs segment by consistently offering various cutting-edge solutions through its key pillars of support. These are access to capital, capacity building,advisory services, networking opportunity and technology. The FCMB SME Advisory Service provides market intelligence and technical assistance support to businesses, access to intervention funds in partnership with Development Financial Institutions (DFIs), as well as provision of credit enhancement facilities to mitigate the credit risk and collateral gaps experienced in lending to SMEs.