Fidelity Bank Plc may have disbursed more than N3 billion of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) fund set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The bank’s Group Head, Specialised SMEs, Ndubuisi Onuoha, made the observation at the training organised for the bank customers aimed at empowering them with skills on managing their businesses and growing them to large ones.
He noted that although there have been changes to the rules from time to time, making it difficult for a seamless disbursement to applicants, he also appealed to the applicants to bear with the situation.
Onuoha assured that Fidelity Bank, like the other banks that are participating in the programme, are like funnels through which the funds get to their customers, and would remain committed to the course.
According to him, the introduction of some conditions slows things down because the rules must be met, adding that there is close to N2 billion pending with the CBN, which the bank is doing everything to get the funds for SMEs.
But the CBN spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, pointed out that “no bank will disburse to a project that is not bankable. The common thing is that people present themselves for loans with no real intention of going into business or evidence that they have put in their own money. Or still, that they may not possess the capacity to even run such a business.”
He explained that CBN interventions are not “grants, but loans that are recoverable and banks are trying to shift blame. We do not delay applications submitted by banks on behalf of their customers.”
Earlier, the Fidelity bank official said his bank was “committed to building sustainable small enterprises” stressing that “only 50 per cent survive beyond three years because of lack of capacity and funds, which pose major challenges.”
Onuoha however, admitted that banks are now cautious about dolling out money to SMEs, noting that some funds kill SMEs prematurely, hence they need to understand their type of business.
Fidelity bank’s mission in organizing the training he said “is to make stronger SMEs with less complaint, equipped with the right talents and skills to manage their business and money borrowed.”
At the end of the training Fidelity bank he said “will have confidence to lend to the participating SMEs and expose participants to how to access existing interventions if they need money.”