The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has diclosed that with right policies and conducive environment for operations, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) have the potential to reduce unemployment in the country.
It explained that through government interventions and other stakeholders support, the small and medium businesses would contribute meaningfully to the Nigerian economy and help reduce the unemployment statistics by gainfully employing youths across the nation.
The CBN Zonal Coordinator, South-South and South-East, Development Finance Activities, Dr Aniefiok Umoren, said vibrant activities of SMEs could also enhance economic growth and ensure Nigeria achieve its developmental goals.
Umoren who disclosed this in a meeting organised in collaboration with the Cross River Government and the Chamber of Commerce in Calabar on Thursday. The theme of the event was: “Unlocking the Business Potential of Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs (SME’s) in the state.”
He said that the meeting became necessary for entrepreneurs to know the importance CBN placed on presenting them advantageously to ensure they contributed significantly to the nation’s economy.
According to him, we are aware that the micro entrepreneurs in the state have the greatest role of creating employment and adding value to the economy of the state.
“So, CBN is taking the bull by the horn by packaging entrepreneurs so that they can add something robust to the Nigerian economy. Everything follows due process because we want to ensure that the right people are getting these funds by preparing their business plan that we will be carefully scrutinise.
“We have to know who you are, the type of business you do, how profitable it is and whether you will be able to pay back the loan as we encourage people who get these loans to pay back so others can benefit,” he said.
The coordinator noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world, the interest rate for loans was five per cent under the apex body’s intervention.
In her remarks, Member, Centre for Entrepreneurial Development, University of Calabar (UNICal), Prof. Christine Ikpeme, said that the centre participated in the meeting to tap into the various CBN’s initiatives.
Ikpeme said that the goal of the centre was to know the procedures to follow to enable students get grants from the apex bank after training them in different entrepreneurial skills.
“Prof. Florence Obi, the Vice Chancellor of Unical, is taking it upon herself to ensure that we churn out students who can make something out of their lives instead of waiting for jobs after graduation.
“We train our students in the centre for entrepreneurial development on confectioneries, paint making and many other skills; in fact, we strive to attain and maintain the “dulux” standard in our paints,” she added.
Also, the Cross River State’s Commissioner for Commerce, Rosemary Archibong, thanked the CBN for its collaboration with state in curbing unemployment. Archibong said that the government would leave no stone unturned in ensuring better life for the youths which would in turn benefit the economy of Cross River.