Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Fidelity Bank CEO
Fidelity Bank Plc, top Nigerian lender has reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing the productivity and prosperity of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country by providing capacity building and advisory services, innovative funding options and other forms of relevant support that would significantly improve their overall contributions to national development.
Fidelity CEO, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe gave the assurance at the Fidelity SME National Capacity Building Webinar organized by the bank for entrepreneurs in Enugu State, in collaboration with the Enugu State Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the Enugu SME Centre; Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN); Nigeria Association of Small & Medium Enterprises (NASME) and Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA).
The webinar which will take place across the country on a state-by-state basis, is part of concerted efforts to assist entrepreneurs across all sectors of the Nigerian economy develop requisite capacity to unlock their full potentials and take their businesses to the next level of growth.
Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe who during her remarks on Wednesday provided insights into the bank’s unique approach to managing MSMEs, pointed out that SMEs which are businesses with less than N100m annual turnover contribute about 48 per cent of national GDP, account for 96 per cent of businesses and 84 per cent of employment in Nigeria. She noted that despite the significant contribution of SMEs to the Nigerian economy, challenges still persist that hinder the growth and development of the sector.
Chief among these are funding, lack of infrastructure, poor management, low entrepreneurial skills, improper planning, poor digital skills, etc. The Fidelity CEO however noted that the webinar seeks to proffer appropriate solutions to these challenges in a very practicable manner.
“We have a dedicated SME Desk with innovative products and services to assist your business. Fidelity Bank, in partnership with various private and public institutions provides funding, business advisory services for all our customers. This webinar is an excellent opportunity to network, share information and deepen the SME sector in Enugu State”, she explained.
Themed “Funding and Financial Management”, the Enugu Edition had in attendance special guests including Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, First Lady, Enugu State, Sir Robert O. Anwatu, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Roban Stores, and Mr. Chiedozie Atuegwu, Director, Michelle Laboratories Limited, amongst others.
In her remarks, Mrs. Ugwuanyi applauded the bank for its unrelenting support for MSMEs in Enugu State, stating that the Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration remained at the forefront of SME development in Nigeria as exemplified by its continuous investments in infrastructure deployment and provision of labor policy frameworks to further encourage investments.
Speaking in the same vein, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) (ABCON) Dr. Aminu Gwadabe commended the bank for its sustained efforts at promoting MSMEs nationwide. Gwadabe noted that the bank had been very supportive to its 5,000 licensed members nationwide. “The Bureau De Change (BDC) does about N1.4trillion per annum. Fidelity Bank controls 60 percent of these transactions in the country”, he explained.
Whilst shedding light on the dynamics of the Bureau De Change sector, Dr, Gwadabe revealed that exchange rate stability was determined by the country’s SME structure. Given the immense potentials inherent in the nation’s MSME space, he said that the fledgling sector, if properly positioned, could assist the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) achieve its mandate on exchange rate stability.