By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Stakeholders in the agriculture and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sectors of the economy have been assured unwavering support by Ecobank Nigeria.
This assurance was given by the bank at the Ecobank Webinar held recently in Lagos, where policymakers also expressed their commitments to the growth of the two vital industries.
The current global health pandemic, which has crippled the world economy, has again shown the relevance of the agric and SMEs to the development of any nation.
Speaking at the event, the Head of SME at Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Emeka Agada, stressed that Ecobank recognises that one of the ways of creating jobs, reducing poverty and achieving economic growth and development was by the timely extension of credit to businesses, noting that the bank is a big player in financial intermediation in that sub-sector.
During his presentation tagged Harnessing CBN and other funding opportunities for small and medium enterprises in the emerging economic climate, Mr Agada assured that the lender will continue to harness and explore the various CBN intervention schemes and other funding and trade opportunities provided by Ecobank Nigeria for small businesses.
He further added that Ecobank has also made available solutions that enhance trade through the provision of working capital and digital platforms for payments and collections.
“Ecobank is a major player in the SME space. We have won several awards in this regard. Which is why Ecobank is commonly referred to as the SME friendly bank.
“We will continue to partner with CBN and other funding partners to play the important role of promoting economic growth and development through the process of financial intermediation in the sub-sector under any circumstance,” he said.
Mr Agada listed business loans offered by Ecobank to SMEs as merchant advance for businesses using digital collection channels, inventory finance for key distributors, shop owners’ facility for traders, purchase order and invoice discounting, asset finance, agriculture finance amongst others.
He further stated that the bank also supports trade by providing solutions for facilitating onshore and off-shore activities such as export finance, import finance, bonds, guarantees, small scale import forex via form Q etc.
He further stated that Ecobank is also a major participant in the CBN Interventions such as Creative Industry Initiative (CIFI), Healthcare Intervention Fund, Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) and all Agric related intervention funds amongst others.
On her part, the Head of AgriBusiness at Ecobank Nigeria, Ms Moji Oguntoyinbo, while presenting a paper titled Harnessing CBN and other Ecobank funding opportunities for Agric business in the emerging economic climate, said Ecobank is sustaining its commitment to the agriculture sector in partnership with NIRSAL and some other developmental institutions in the next two to three years.
According to her, Ecobank is a partner with the CBN in all its intervention schemes and programs which are focused on the development of the agricultural sector, saying “this relationship is generating activities across the entire value chain of the sector.”
She listed the various schemes and programs as Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF), Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS), Maize Aggregation Scheme (MAS) and Rice Distributors’ Facility (RDF).
This edition of the Ecobank Webinar series is an initiative of Ecobank Commercial Banking business, aimed at deepening conversation on the new normal for businesses and how individuals can harness new opportunities in the face of COVID-19.
The virtual engagement attracted participation from amongst various Ecobank customers comprising, individuals and business owners from different sectors of the economy and financial experts who joined across virtual platforms and social media handles.
Ecobank’s unique and largest pan-African platform is designed to help unlock the opportunities of the continent and for the continent, through standardisation, fuelling regional integration, trade and investment across borders.
Due to its sterling performance, the bank has been recognized multiple times; as ‘Best Retail Bank in Africa 2019’ by the African Banker Awards and also as ‘Most Admired Financial Services Brand in Africa 2019’ by Brand Africa 100”.
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