The Federal Government over the weekend reached an agreement with the World Bank Group and other development partners for the release of about $1.3billion for the funding of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the planned takeoff of the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN).
Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, broke this news at a post event press briefing in Washington DC, USA, and stated that upon commencement, DBN would serve as a conduit for government intervention in SMEs and medium sized enterprises as part of efforts to achieve inclusive growth.
Nigerian SMEs account for over 50 per cent of the country’s GDP, but have often been starved of funds due to inappropriate allocation mechanism that involve commercial banks and other stakeholders that are not genuinely committed to their growth.
According to Adeosun, with this latest agreement with development partners, efforts are now being geared towards recruiting the key management staff of the bank to enable it commence full operation. The minister noted that there will be a release of $1.3 billion which would be used to support SMEs which are part of the engine that will spur the growth of the Nigerian economy. With this development, SME lending at low rates will now be facilitated through the DBN and we are ready to resolve the outstanding issues.
On the same note, Adeosun also noted that bilateral meetings have UK Department for International Development and other to stop illegal financial flows out of Nigeria. “We had a number of specific bilateral meetings with UK Department for International Development, the US treasury and other partners and pbased on the need to reverse the trend of illegal financial flows out of Nigeria,” said Adeosun. “We have agreed on a number of initiatives to achieve significant repatriation of monies illegally taken out of the country. These include monies that have been taken by way of illegal tax repatriation, tax avoidance as well as those illegally stolen by past government officials,”.