As one of the Participating Financial Institutions (PFI) in the disbursement of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Development Fund (MSMEDF), First City Monument Bank Plc has hit the ground running in its bid to assist in funding of real sector with an initial disbursement N122 million so far.
Some of the listed beneficiaries include Health Products and Farms Ltd, Midows Ltd (both based in Lagos), Everlasting Hands Ltd, Kaduna State and God’s Will Technical Services Ltd, Ogun State, the bank said the amount disbursed is expected to grow in the coming months. In August last year, the CBN launched a N220 billion MSMEDFto provide loans at lower interest rate of 9 per cent over a maximum period of five years and allows an SME business to borrow a maximum of N50 million. The interest rate was later this year reduced to 6 per cent.
The reduction President Goodluck Jonathan said was in response to increased demand and agitation from the SMEs owners for the reduction. The Group Head, Business Banking, FCMB, Mr George Ogbonnaya, in a statement, noted that the bank’s action was in response to the realization of SMEs critical roles in the growth of the nation’s economy and that as agents of growth, it was committed to helping these businesses thrive and contribute to the development of the country.
“We understand that a number of factors combine to determine the success or failure of SMEs. We will continue to support our customers operating in the SMEs segment to overcome the challenges they usually face, especially at the take-off stage. We want to be part of their success stories,” Ogbonnaya said.
He pointed out that the FCMB realised the strategic importance of this sector, with statistics showing that over 17 million SMEs were registered in Nigeria and contributed significantly to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). While reiterating the commitment of the bank to ensuring the successful disbursement and utilisation of the MSMEs fund, he urged operators in the SME sector to avail themselves of the opportunities being provided by the bank to boost their businesses.