The Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday said that a total of 548,345 Nigerians have been given the sum of N253.4bn under its Targeted Credit Facility set up last year during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said this at a Public Lecture presented at the 51st Convocation Lecture of the University of Lagos.
He spoke on the theme, “National development and knowledge economy in the digital age: Leapfrogging SMEs into the 21st century.”
The CBN Governor said globally, SMEs are considered key drivers of industrialization and agents of socio-economic transformation, adding that in this digital age, they are recognized as the backbone of national and economic development due to their significant contributions to GDP, through employment generation and poverty eradication.
The Governor said they also promote investment and wealth creation, equitable income distribution, export promotion, technological innovation, industrial diversification and value addition to local content.
Emefiele told the gathering that the CBN has contributed significantly to the development of SMEs in Nigeria.
Apart from galvanising policy support for SMEs development through its mandates, the Governor said the CBN has rolled out massive developmental interventions in some critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, especially in agriculture, manufacturing and SMEs.
He stated further that attention has also been paid to advancing knowledge and innovation through various initiatives targeted at promoting youth’s entrepreneurship, research and development.
Emefiele noted that one of the most recent schemes targeted at channelling low-interest wholesale funds to the MSME segment is the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund which charges 9 per cent interest rate.
He said the scheme has recorded the disbursement of over ₦83.9bn to 216,704 beneficiaries as of the end of last year.
The obligor limit ranges from ₦500,000 for micro enterprises to ₦50bn for SMEs financed by Deposit Money Banks.