The Anambra State Government has said it is targeting N20 billion to boost Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) Managing Director, Mr. Clement Chukwuka, who who made this known in Awka, the state capital, said the agency targets N20 billion in the next seven and half years with the hope of generating over N3 billion this year to assist entrepreneurs.
According to Chukwuka, the agency was already working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to raise more funds.
“In the past 19 months, the agency had so far funded in excess of 15, 000 people directly in the micro credit schemes and close to 200 for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which had further created chains of employment,” he said.
Chukwuka added that the agency had also put in place shoe manufacturing cluster in conjunction with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) with over a thousand shops built with little funds. He said they are expected to begin manufacturing of shoes for export.
Apart from providing finance to entrepreneurs at nine per cent interest rate, the ASBA boss said the agency was also mentoring and planned to open up opportunities for fashion designers, mechanics and artisans this year.
He said since June 2015, the state government in conjunction with the CBN had disbursed about N2 billion loans through the agency to revive moribund industries.
While reiterating the state’s commitment to remain the choice destination for commerce in the country, Chukwuka said the agency also plans to establish ASBA Business Academy.
The Academy, he said, would train and certify artisans with the state Ministry of Science and Technology. “Our aim is to ensure that paper qualification becomes a thing of the past because we want people to make a living despite the economic recession,” he said.
ASBA is a state-owned development financial institution created to cover areas of industrialisation, value added chain programmes, artisans, science and technology, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors.
“Major Anambra rice millers and the clusters that export vegetables from the state overseas are funded by the agency to boost the agricultural sector,” the ASBA helmsman said.
He added that micro-credit entrepreneurs, who applied for funds received between N1, 000 and N500, 000, while between N5 million and N50 million was approved for successful applicants under the SMEs programme.
Chukwuka stressed that ASBA had impacted over 60, 000 businesses directly and indirectly in the state, adding, however, that the agency had strict policy for recovering every loan.
He also said Governor Willie Obiano was determined to encourage investments and build institutions that would not only promote MSMEs, but outlive his administration.