The rebuilding process of Borno State should be championed by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Development Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Tony Okpanachi has said.
Several billions of Naira is needed to rebuild the Borno state, the epicentre of Boko Haram, which has had many public and private property destroyed in the decade old crisis.
Speaking at the maiden MSME Summit organized by Development Bank of Nigeria in Maiduguri on Tuesday, Okpanachi said: “Before the outbreak of insurgency, over a decade ago, Borno State had a reputation as one of the thriving nerve centers of the North-East, owing to the strength of its commercial, trading and export potential. It was truly an ecosystem where MSMEs thrived.”
He noted that: “Today, even though there are challenges Distinguish Ladies and Gentlemen, this administration through His Excellency’s Ten Point Agenda that includes growing the Economy and Entrepreneurship will, in conjunction with the Development Bank of Nigeria go to great lengths to ensure that the rebuilding process continues with MSMEs at the fore.”
Okpanachi said as part of DBN’s mandate of providing sustainable financing, Maiduguri was chosen as a veritable location to host the first ever DBN MSME Summit, which was a direct response to the layers of exclusion occasioned by insurgency.
The Bank Chief Executive, which said It is “A new Dawn for MSMEs in Nigeria,” stressed that it is “A New Dawn for Economic Growth and Development in Borno State and for the MSMEs.”
He however said a major challenge faced by the MSMEs is “their inability to structure and put together a bankable business plan which makes banks view them as high risk and therefore unwilling to finance them.”
He said DBN will put together an immediate capacity building plan that will involve assembling a number of MSMEs in Borno State and making them go through an extensive capacity building programme, which will equip them with the relevant know-how and therefore make them attractive to the bank’s Participating Financial Institutions.
He said the bank’s team will need the support of the relevant ministry to make this a huge success, stressing that this initiative has worked in other parts of the country and it is strongly believed that it will work in Borno too.
He said: “We shall work with the State Borno Renaissance Micro Finance Bank (when it becomes fully operational) to explore the possibility of providing wholesale lending to them for MSMEs in Borno State.”
He disclosed that: “In the current year, we have disbursed over 100 Billion Naira to over 95,000 MSMEs cutting across various sectors of the economy. Additionally, 70% of loans were to women-owned/managed businesses and 51% so far are youth owned businesses. Here in the Northeast region of the country our disbursement has been relatively low I must admit. In the last two years, we have disbursed 300 Million Naira to about 1,000 MSMEs.
“Now, we are here in Maiduguri in hopes to continue to strengthen and deepen our reach in this part of the country in order to ensure no community is left behind.”
Also speaking at the Summit, the governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Umara who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Babagana Wakil, said it was instructive and encouraging for the bank to have it’s maiden MSMEs Summit in Maiduguri when many are still afraid to travel to.
He said the state government was ready to work with the bank to achieve it’s objectives and bring succour to the people of the state.