Most SME operators cannot access the funds they need to develop |By Eki Toju

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), on Monday, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to compel banks to invest in the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The LCCI Director-General, Muda Yusuf, said this in Lagos during a workshop organised by a Non-Governmental Organisation based in South Africa, tagged: ‘Impact of Investment Climate Reforms on Growth and Development of SMEs’.

“The CBN should make it a deliberate policy for banks to dedicate certain percentages of their credits to the development of SMEs,” he said.

He said banks refused to invest in the sector because they were allowed to manage their credits the way they desired.

“Most small business operators cannot access funds in the regular commercial banks,” he said. “They have to go to finance houses or microfinance banks where they borrow at high interest rate of 10 per cent per month. They may not have beautiful offices, but we need to reckon with them and bring them on board.”

Yusuf reiterated that SMEs had contributed immensely towards the trade sector of the economy and accounted for about 15 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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