The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it will increase its development finance interventions to further support start-ups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
This was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele at the 51st Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos, Akoka, on Monday in Lagos, South-west Nigeria.
Emefiele said that increased access to finance for start-ups and SMEs was highly essential for the nation’s economy to grow.
According to him, special consideration should be given to the strengthening of physical and ICT infrastructure, to enable SMEs perform more efficiently and become globally competitive.
“The potential of SMEs in enhancing economic growth is hampered by limited access to finance, inadequate infrastructure and poor digital penetration. I urge the government and the private sector to provide more support in addressing the challenges of SMEs in the country.
“Specifically, as users of new technology, I advise that policies that would incentivize the adoption of innovations that will improve SMEs competitiveness and productivity should be made,” the CBN governor said.
He tasked relevant stakeholders to deepen reforms that would improve human capital development through skills enhancement and proper linkage of research to the SME sector.
Emefiele advised tertiary institutions in the country to tap into the educational trends that are significant drivers of productivity in advanced and emerging markets.
Doing so, Emefiele said, would help to reshape the existing curriculum, enhance the learning experience of students and foster innovation among the faculty and staff in Nigerian institutions.
The CBN governor advocated enhanced collaboration between universities and players in key sectors of the economy: agriculture, manufacturing and ICT.
“They should collaborate in the training of relevant manpower to minimize mismatches between the skills required by firms and the educational qualifications of Nigerian graduates,” he added.
The CBN has rolled out massive developmental interventions in critical areas such as agriculture, manufacturing and SMEs.
Some of the CBN initiatives include the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS); Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF); and Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP).
Others are Agri-business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS); Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI); Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).