The Managing Director of Abia SME Micro Finance Bank,Mr Kingsley Nwobilor, has assured SME operators that government will continue to mainstream the growth of small businesses through funding.
Mr Nwobilor who made this disclosure in an interview with Newsmen in Umuahia, said the government under the watch of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu would not relent in giving out business support,as already his administration has positively impacted over 1000 start up businesses between 2015 till date.
He said while the government gives start ups, the Abia SME Micro Finance Bank gives loans with zero interest rate to SME operators as a way of encouragement and keeping them afloat in business.
Recall that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu speaking during the World MSME Day, held at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia,said his administration is poised towards impacting on small businesses, stating that so far,his administration has positively impacted over 1000 start up businesses between 2015 and now, adding that no wonder Abia is regarded as SME capital in Nigeria and he is proud to be the leader of gifted people in Abia.
The Governor promised that his government will continue to encourage and support more businesses as Abia is the SME Capital of Nigeria.
He stated that his choice of SME as one of the cardinal pillars of his government is because Abians are gifted in SME, adding that it is for that reason that his government decided to mainstream SME, as well as,dedicate a full fledged Ministry for the development of SMEs in the State.
Governor Ikpeazu stated that idea, funding and patronage are essential in SME development and encouraged all who may want to venture into SME to think of the power imbedded in them, be willing to learn and act and also exhibit honesty.
“Ideas, funding and patronage are key to SME development.Idea develop SME and it does not come from the sky.
“You must look at ur environment to see those things your environment needs, so as to excel with them. Identify these opportunities, be prepared to learn,bring ideas from what other people are doing, start with what is in ur hand”,the Governor reiterated.
He advised business owners to strive to be honest and diligent in their business pursuit,so as to retain their customers.
Okezie Ikpeazu also recalled, that between 2015 and today, Abia State has consistently won National Awards in the SME sub- sector and gifted an awardee from Abia, Mr Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke, who emerged the Access Bank Overall MSME of the year award, with the sum of One Million Naira ,tasking him to use the money to further strengthen his business.
The Governor also presented the sum of #250,000 -#750,000, to winners of the SME Business proposal writing competition, urging them to use the seed to strive and prosper in their businesses
The Commissioner for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Lady Adaku Oseiza, pointed out that Abia is not lagging behind in SME Development as Abia SME has scored many firsts including setting up the Enyimba Automated Shoe Company , establishing an SME Bank tailored towards helping small businesses to thrive among others.
She noted that Abians have consistently won various categories of MSME Annual Awards sponsored by the Office of the Vice President, stressing that Abia SMEs under Governor Ikpeazu has made progress and could eminently pass the international best practices parameter set up by the United Nations.
The ceremony witnessed goodwill messages from stakeholders in the SME sector, including the Managing Director of the Abia SME Microfinance Bank and a representative of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) while the Governor later unveiled the first Abia SME Business Directory.
Members of the State Executive Council, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor anf other top officials of the State Government witnessed the event.
In an interview, Mr Tochukwu Clinton Chukwueke, who emerged winner of the Access Bank Overall MSME of the year award, thanked the Governor of the state for creating a conducive business environment for businesses to thrive, promising to put good use of the one million naira given to him by the Governor.
One of the winners of the competition,Obi Chukwu Emelogu,expressed excitement that he was among those who won the competition, adding that the prize would further help him get back to business.According to him, the ban on maize actually affected his poultry business, stating that with the fund given to him,he would start afresh, thanking the governor for all his efforts in boosting the SME sector