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N220 Billion MSME Fund: Another Reality Of Jonathan Transformation Promise

Source: pointblanknews.com
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By Edwin Ekene Uhara
On Monday August 18 2014, President Good luck Jonathan launched the N220

billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) in

Abuja.
The MSMED Fund is an intervention programme introduced by the Jonathanadministration to uproot abject poverty from the land; thereby creating

jobs as well as empowering Nigerians with the needed skills and finance to

turn their ideas to wealth creation.
However, it is worthy of note that access to finance as well as inadequate

skills are among the challenges confronting Nigeria before now. May I also

add that our tertiary institutions are also contributing to some of the

economic woes facing the nation because there lay much and unnecessary

emphasis on theories more than practical. There prefer garbage-in

garbage-out system of education to creative and innovative thinking

system. There teach economic and political theories that only exist in

textbooks and not in the real world. There teach students how to look for

job and not how to create jobs. This is why there churn out graduates that

lacks relevant skills needed for national development. So, this is what

the Jonathan Government is hell-bent on correcting.

He has done so by increasing the budgetary allocations to the nationeducation sector. He has done so by revamping our air ports and rail

system. He has done so by introducing and implementing friendly economic

policies that are attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). He has done

so by investing heavily in infrastructure. He has done so by establishing

the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). Now, he has

launched the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development

Fund to make resources available to entrepreneurs in the country.

According to reports, the new Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

was quoted as saying œIt is imperative that this segment of the

financial system be strengthened in order to forestall the inevitable

adverse socio-economic consequences of financial exclusion¦ The linkage

between finance and economic development has been well documented.Access to finance has a significant multiplier effect on the economy

because of its catalytic effect on job creation. It is in realization of

this that the (CBN) launched the N220 billion MSME Development Fund to

provide financial resources to the entrepreneurs across the country

through Participating Financial Institutions (PFI™s).

The CBN boss also added that 6o enterprising graduates had been invited to

the programme to be trained and mentored on how to identify business

opportunities and source for fund. This is however a commendable

initiative by our president.
The report also noted that œThe participating deposit money banks will

be mandated to obtain biometric information of borrowers through a data

base already created by the CBN to ensure that funds get to genuine

borrowers as well as discourage multiple access. Also the apex bank will

set up strict monitoring facility to ensure that the money not only gets

to the targets, but also used for viable growth.
Under this programme, qualified individuals would be able to access

between N50, 000 and N100, 000. While state governments are entitled to

apply for N2 billion. In the same vein, two percent of the fund would be

set aside for economically active, but physically challenged or disabled

persons in the country. Also, intending beneficiaries would be mandated to

join a cooperative society to facilitate or increase their chances.

The CBN boss also noted that some billions had so far been disbursed to

313 projects under the Commercial Agricultural Credit Scheme (CACS) as at

July 2014.
While launching the fund, President Good luck Jonathan said œAll over

the world, the contribution of MSME to GDP is on the average of about 47

percent¦ with about 17.3 million MSME™s in Nigeria, there is need for

more concrete and concerted efforts to expand the activities of MSMEs in

our country¦ Given that structural transformation of the economy remains

our core priority, we are investing heavily in critical infrastructure to

promote job creation and inclusive growth.
Also speaking, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr.

Olusengun Aganga described the CBN intervention  as a big step in the

development of the MSME sector, but lamented that though SMEs sector

accounted for about half of GDP, only 80 percent of small businesses had

access to formal financing.
Nonetheless, it will be recalled that this writer had in one of his

articles entitled: œThe Truth about Self Employment called for a

œtriangular partnership between the government, financial

institutions and the faith based organizations in the fight against

unemployment and poverty in the country.
Nonetheless, a part from the launch of the N220 billion Micro, Small and

Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF), the President had already put

in place economic policies that will leapfrog our economy from that of a

developing nation to a very developed one. A good example is the

implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan.

Comrade Edwin Ekene Uhara is an Activist and Public Affairs Commentator.

He is also a staunch supporter and defender of President Jonathan's

Government in the media. He writes from  Abuja.
Reach him on 07065862479 or [email protected]

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