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Nigerian Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions have been identified as a critical economic sector capable of reviving the ailing economy and reducing the perennial unemployment in the country by providing soft loans to Small and Medium Enterprises described as the engine for economic development, Pastor Owen Nlekwuwa has said.
He added that in addition to other variable factors affecting SMEs, not many cottage industry operators could afford the astronomical interest rate charged by banks, unlike what obtains in other climes, adding that both the federal and state governments should create an enabling environment that will encourage small businesses to thrive.
The cleric stated this at the maiden edition of the business forum of Men of Impact summit of Olivet Bible Church in Lagos recently. The forum was used as capacity building, training and empowerment for entrepreneurs.
Nlekwuwa said, “Nigerian banks have not been helpful because our highly prohibitive exchange rate s not helpful to small businesses and start-ups. A situation where you take a loan at a rate of 25 per cent is not really helping us to build cottage businesses. It’s unlike what obtains in some places abroad.
“In America, for instance, you can obtain a loan at 2.5 per cent, hardly anything more than 4.5 per cent and they have years to pay back. In this case, you are not sweating to pay back. It’s not like that here. In Nigeria, we have a situation where the financial sector focuses more on people that have made it. There are only few DMBs really that promote small businesses.
“What makes the United States today is not government jobs; it’s entrepreneurship that made America what it is. We can tap into the same line of thinking and mindset, get our youths to tap into the power of Enterprise. This will ease unemployment. It is the responsibility of the government to create enabling environment where enterprise can thrive.”
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