HERITAGE BANK CEO CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF VISION 2020 SME BLUEPRINT TO TACKLE GROWING UNEMPLOYMENT | Bizness Watch
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HERITAGE BANK CEO CALLS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF VISION 2020 SME BLUEPRINT TO TACKLE GROWING UNEMPLOYMENT

The Managing Director of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo has
called on the government to ensure seamless implementation
of the blueprint developed by the vision 2020 National
Technical Working Group on SMEs as an efficient strategy to
fast track the process of curtailing the growing
unemployment rate in the country.

IFIE SEKIBO, MD, HERITAGE BANK

IFIE SEKIBO, MD, HERITAGE BANK

According to the Heritage Bank helmsman, all stakeholders in
the nation’s economic sphere, especially the SME sector,
must join hands in creating and sustaining an active SME
revitalization drive through the establishment of a solid
framework supported by clearly articulated government
policy.
“The current high rate of unemployment in the country
requires all stakeholders to work together in ensuring the
quick revitalization of the SME sector as the primary source
of creating jobs and fostering entrepreneurship among the
youths. The Vision 2020 National Technical Working Group on
SMEs has developed a blueprint for boosting SMEs and the
government needs to do all within its power to bring up the
fine ideas in the blueprint for implementation”.
“SMEs enhance competition and entrepreneurship, and their
proper development has a positive impact on innovation and
productivity growth which, in turn, enhances macro-economic
stability. Therefore, developing the SME sector is one
urgent task that requires concerted effort from all
stakeholders”.
Sekibo noted that although SMEs are a vital national
economic growth engine contributing to vital economic
indicators like Employment Generation and GDP with about 70%
of the rural population being active in formal and informal
SME sectors,  a study of the sector has shown that
growth possibilities are hampered seriously as significantly
low number of start ups who apply for medium-longer term
financing actually succeed.
He attributed the main challenge facing SME promoters in the
country to limited access to appropriate capacity building
opportunities and education which, in turn, lead to other
growth-limiting impediments such as inadequate financial
record keeping, Poor Managerial Skills, Lack of access to
International Markets, inability to provide collateral and
poor access to infrastructure.
He advised Small and Medium Enterprises in the country to
focus greatly on restructuring and innovation in order to
access the unfolding opportunities for growth and
development in the economic landscape.
According to him, “The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
(MSME) Development Fund which provides an exit window for
the MSME schemes and programmes currently implemented by the
Central Bank is one of the new opportunities for SMEs in the
country to access wholesale funding requirements. It offers
a relatively more sustainable approach to the provision of
credit and guaranteed advisory services to the specialized
needs of the MSME sector”.




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