Fidelity Bank says it has disbursed over N3 billion to small businesses from the N220 billion CBN SME fund being disbursed by participating deposit money banks.
The Group Head, Specialised SME of Fidelity Bank, Mr Ndubuisi Onuoha, disclosed this in Abuja at the opening session of an entrepreneurship training workshop for small businesses organised by the bank in collaboration with EMPRETEC.
Mr. Onuoha said “Fidelity Bank has done over N3 billion disbursements. CBN is slowing things down, there is close to N2 billion pending with the CBN. We are doing everything to get the funds for SMEs. The problem is not with Fidelity Bank, we are only a conduit for passing the money to SMEs.”
He also has identified lack of capacity as one of the major impediments to the growth and development of small scale businesses, adding that unstable government policies, lack of collateral to access loans, hostile business environment and funding among others are also challenging.
The CBN spokesman Isaac Okorafor noted that “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.”
The CBN interventions, he said, are “not grants, they are loans that are recoverable. The banks are trying to shift blame. We do not delay applications submitted by banks on behalf of their customers.”
He said his bank was “committed to building sustainable small enterprises” stressing that “only 50 percent survive beyond three years because of lack of capacity and funds which pose major challenges. It doesn’t matter how much money they have, without capacity it will be lost.”
The General Manager, Business and Strategy, EMPRETEC, Mr Bright Osakwe, said the firm has been able to train about 3,000 entrepreneurs in Nigeria while over 80,000 have been trained globally.