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Bankers’ Committee Inaugurates Board to Finance SMEs

By Dipo Olowookere

Late last year, commercial banks operating in Nigeria agreed to set aside a certain percentage of their profit to provide funding support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

This week, at the 331st Bankers’ Committee meeting in Abuja, a board was set up to make this a reality and come up with how the equity funds would be accessed by prospective beneficiaries.

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Addressing newsmen after the meeting, the Director of Banking Supervision at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Ahmed Abdullahi, disclosed that about N26 billion would be made available for this purpose.

“If you recall, all the banks are supposed to set aside a portion of their profit which will be made available for equity investment in agriculture and small and medium scale enterprises.

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“So the board was inaugurated today (Thursday) as well as the Project Review Committee of that fund, so basically the fund is ready to start implementing,” he said.

Mr Abdullahi said, “The members of the Project Review Committee include, the Managing Directors of Guarantee Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, FCMB, Unity Bank and Sterling Bank.”

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He noted that “over the course of the next few weeks, there will be more communications as to how to access these funds.”

The apex bank’s top shot noted that “entrepreneur, small businesses and agriculture, the opportunity is there for equity funding for your businesses.”

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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