FirstBank MD, Adedutan rallies support for Nigerian SMEs
Adesola Adeduntan, the managing director and chief executive officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has rallied stakeholders to prime support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Nigeria.
He also added that FirstBank, Nigeria’s oldest financial institution, has been able to maintain its position as one of the leading financial institutions in the country, over the years, because of its strong and consistent support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Adeduntan stated this today while contributing to a virtual panel session titled: Destination Lagos: Becoming the World’s Best Investment Destination, at the ongoing three-day 2021 Ehingbeti Lagos Economic Summit.
The FirstBank boss, who was responding to a question about what the first tier lender and other banks in the country are doing to boost SMEs’ access to credit, said: “We have always been the largest lenders to SMEs. We are by far the oldest bank (the lender will clock 127 years by March 2021) in this part of the world and we have sustained our leading position because we support businesses that are relevant to the economy.”
He stated that First- Bank had a dedicated portal for SMEs known as SMEConnect that was created seven years ago and is constantly refined. According to him, the path to growth for the Nigerian economy lies in developing the country’s SME sector.
He noted that apart from the credit that First- Bank provides to SMEs through loans, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had also established a credit scheme through which SMEs access credit from banks.
He also pointed out that SMES had benefited tremendously from the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), an initiative of the Bankers’ Committee, introduced on February 9, 2017, in which DMBs are required to set aside five per cent of their Profit After Tax (PAT) that will go into a fund that would be used for supporting small enterprises.