Three associations for small and medium enterprises on Monday in Lagos
appealed to the CBN to break the N220 billion bail-out fund for SMEs
into smaller units to ensure easier access.
The associations are the Nigerian Association of Small Scale
Industrialists (NASSI), Nigerian Association of Small and Medium
Enterprises (NASME), Lagos chapters and the Association of Micro
Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN).
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that majority of the SMEs
could not access the loan because requirement for a non-moveable
collateral such as Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), demanded by CBN,
Mr Segun Kuti-George, Chairman of NASSI, Lagos Chapter, said that most
of the association members could not access the loans because meeting
the collateral was an uphill task.
Kuti-George said the CBN needed to reduce the requirements because
most SME operators did not have what the banks were demanding for.
He said the funds were only being accessed by the ‘bigger’ companies
to the detriment of small and micro enterprises which would have
utilised the funds better.
“It is good for the banks to ask us to produce collateral, but this is
a call on the government to encourage the CBN to take more risks by
further reducing the requirements.
“I can say that only 20 per cent of the people who actually need this
fund have had access to it.
“I say that because out of the small and medium operators, how many of
them have Certificate of Occupancies? The most they have is machines
or other tools.
“This sector employs not less than 10 to 15 people, most of whom are
low income earners, but the employment goes a long way in reducing
poverty, which is good for the economy.
“The banks are afraid to take risks, and if things continue like this,
and SMEs are the engine of growth of any economy, then how will the
He, however, lauded the CBN for inviting SMEs for talks on the issue,
but appealed that positive measures be taken after the talks.
Mr Eke Ubiji, Chairman of NASME, said although the CBN had earlier
established collateral registries to soften the requirements, the
issue of C of O and others should be reviewed.
Ubiji said very few of the association members had accessed the loan.
He urged the CBN to hasten the process of the registries, which would
enable operators to present collateral like personal belongings,
machines and other transferable items to access the loan.
Mr Saviour Iche, President, Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of
Nigeria (AMEN) told NAN that none of the association’s members had
accessed the fund.
Iche said that the reason was because they could not meet the
requirements demanded by the banks.
He urged the government to break the fund into smaller units to enable
micro-entrepreneurs access it.