Access Bank Plc has partnered with the Federal Government of Nigeria in a N30 billion commitment to support four million Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The multi-billion naira commitment is expected to provide much-needed capital for MSMEs to expand their operations and create jobs, with a particular focus on women and youth-owned businesses.
Roosevelt Ogbonna, the group managing director and chief executive officer of Access Bank Plc, announced the partnership with the federal government recently after a meeting with Kashim Shettima,the vice president at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Ogbonna highlighted the importance of the partnership in addressing the MSME financing gap in Nigeria, which is estimated to be over $300 billion. He also emphasised Access Bank’s commitment to supporting women and youth-owned businesses, which are often overlooked by traditional financial institutions.
In his words,“This initiative echoes our longstanding commitment to inclusivity, and we are privileged to align our efforts with the office of the vice president’s mandate to prioritise the empowerment of women. We are thankful to the vice president for granting us the opportunity to partner with the federal government. Indeed, his shared belief in the potential of women and his support through this partnership gives us significant impetus to do more.
“With more than 66% of Nigeria’s MSMEs owned by women and youths, challenges including access to finance, education and mentorship remain prevalent. To bridge these gaps, we have designed four different programmes to benefit no fewer than four million individuals and businesses across Nigeria.”
Ogbonna further explained that all beneficiaries will have access to the funds at discounted rates, making it more affordable and accessible for MSMEs. He expressed excitement at the opportunity to deepen Access Bank’s impact in fostering sustainable and inclusive growth through its support for MSMEs.
The Access Bank CEO noted that the partnership will help to create new jobs, boost the economy, and promote financial inclusion in Nigeria. He expressed confidence in the bank’s ability to support the government’s efforts to create an enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive.
Temitola Adekunle-Johnson, senior special assistant to the president on job creation and MSMEs in the office of the vice president, reinforced the federal government’s commitment to working with the private sector to support MSMEs. Adekunle-Johnson expressed gratitude to Access Bank for stepping up to support MSMEs and commended the bank’s efforts to create an enabling environment for them to thrive. He stressed the importance of this partnership in empowering young entrepreneurs and boosting the economy, and reiterated the government’s willingness to provide the necessary support to ensure its success.
He said: “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has told the entire world that Nigeria is ready, and our doors are open for partnerships that will be of benefit to the populace. Women are a key. We recognise the need for public-private collaborations in fostering progress, so this partnership with Access Bank has come at the right time. We expect the programme to commence very soon, and we are excited for the opportunities that it will afford MSMEs.”