The Development Bank of Nigeria has called for a sustained support and improved access to finance for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as a means of managing the growing employment need in the country and addressing the global domestic population explosion.
The Chairman, DBN, Dr. Shehu Yahaya, made this call when Queen Maxima of Netherlands and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development visited the bank in Abuja.
Yahaya implored the queen to use her good offices to push urgently for increased access to finance for the MSMEs in order to enhance financial inclusion.
He said in a statement, “I will start by providing context to the situation that will confront the world over the next 20 to 50 years if strategic and sustained support is not afforded the MSMEs as a critical segment of any economy.
“The current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030; 9.7 billion in 2050; and 11.2 billion in 2100. To manage this growth, 600 million jobs are needed over the next 15 years to absorb the growing global workforce.
“The employment need in Nigeria will be 30 million – 40 million jobs by 2030 (mostly to be provided by the MSMEs) and currently, 50 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP is attributed to the SMEs and this is expected to grow to 70 per cent in 2050. There are over 37 million MSMEs in the country. However, less than five per cent of these businesses have access to credit in the financial system.”
Although the MSMEs are collectively the largest employers in many low-income countries including Nigeria, their viability was threatened by lack of access to risk management tools such as savings, insurance and credit, the DBN chairman noted.
He added that the growth of the sector was often stifled by restricted access to credit, equity and payments services.
He noted however that the global pursuit of financial inclusion as a vehicle for economic development had a positive impact on Nigeria to some degree as the exclusion rate reduced from 53 per cent in 2008 to 46.3 per cent in 2010.
He informed the Dutch queen that the DBN had commenced lending operations with the provision of over N5bn to three national microfinance banks for onward lending to 20,000 MSMEs across every sector of the economy.
Responding, Maxima said she was at the DBN to understand what the bank was doing and hoped to further support the organisation.