NNAMDI Okonkwo, chief executive officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, has said that the nation’s fledging Small and Medium Enterprises sector could play a critical role in diversifying the monolithic economy if properly positioned. Okonkwo, who spoke at the maiden edition of the South-East Regional SME Conference in Enugu, said the immense wealth potential inherent in the SME space could not be ignored.
According to him, “This conference could not have come at a better time than now when Nigeria is repositioning herself to contain the current economic challenges occasioned by the precipitous drop in global oil price. Free fall in global oil prices has constrained the resources available to the new administration.”
Okonkwo noted that the theme of the conference, “Positioning SMEs for growth in the South East region,’ was apt and at the heart of the bank’s commitment to building entrepreneurs in the region. He added that the conference was aimed at building the capacities of the SMEs operating in the region.
According to him, it will also provide a veritable platform for small businesses to network among themselves. He explained that the bank had realigned its resources and processes to assist the SMEs to raise their level of competitiveness in a highly volatile environment. He said, “We created a dedicated SME Banking Division (Fidelity Managed SMEs) which focuses on providing solutions to the challenges faced by the SMEs through a multifaceted approach.”
Okonkwo told operators of 100 upcoming businesses in the South East that through its robust business advisory service, the bank had been guiding entrepreneurs in their quest to build sustainable businesses. While proffering fresh remedies to the financing constraints hindering the growth of the SMEs in Nigeria, the bank executive advised financial institutions to deliver low-cost banking transactions to small businesses.
This, he said, would enable small businesses to build up the requisite transaction history to access funds from formal lenders.
— Nov 2, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT