ABUJA (Office of the Vice President Report)
The Vice President made this observation lately at the Meccah Guest Palace Hotel in Meccah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when he received a delegation from the Islamic Development Bank led by its Chairman, Ahmed Mohammed Ali.
Mohammed Namadi Sambo said that the lack of access to financing has been one of the stumbling blocks to the growth and development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria; adding that this has caused a situation where international financial institutions channel funds through local banks for on-lending to SMEs only for the banks to turn around and charge high interest rates. The SMEs, thereafter, he said end up supporting the banks by increasing their liquidity.
He urged the Islamic Development Bank to evolve ways through which the small scale entrepreneurs could have easy access to cheap funds to finance his business. He further stated that the Federal Government has a robust national master plan for small and medium scale enterprises, seeking ways on how the IDB would be able to provide direct financing support for the small and medium scale entrepreneurs in the country.
While congratulating the chairman for extending his services through the bank, the Vice President noted that the current re-basing of Nigeria’s GDP has shown Nigeria as one of the fastest growing economies. He expressed the need for the bank to take advantage of this favourable economic climate to further support the nation in her quest for rapid socio-economic growth and development.
According to him, with the successful completion of ten new thermal power plants in the country, there is also need for adequate gas infrastructure to support its industries. He called for the bank’s support to finance both gas and transportation infrastructure in order to allow for local processing and transportation of gas within the country.
While adding that there are several other power and agricultural projects and programmes which the administration is currently executing such as the Gurara Phase II 260 megawatts Hydropower Project; the 3050 megawatts larger Mambila Hydro-power Project; the Itisi Dam Irrigation and Hydro-power Project and the Zungeru 700 megawatts Hydropower Project, he called on the bank to offer support towards the realization of these projects.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank, Ahmed Mohammed Ali said that the bank has interest in many sectors like education, healthcare, project financing, power and gas; indicating that at the moment, the bank is engaged in a gas pipeline project that would connect the Southern and Northern parts of Cote D’ I’voire, presently at a pilot stage. He also expressed the hope that the bank would work with Nigeria in the future if the project succeeds.
The climax of the event was the presentation of congratulatory letters by the Vice President to the IDB Chairman for his 40th Anniversary in service and for extending his services to the organization.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; Kashim Bukar of Barbedos Group; the IDB Country Programs Manager in the West African Division, Salah Mansour; the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) Relationship Manager for the Sub-Saharan Africa Corporate & Structured Finance, Mubarak Elegbede and the Acting Director of Business Development & Partnership Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Farid Mohammed Masmoudi.
Currently the Islamic Development Bank is financing a number of projects in a number of countries across the world, including Nigeria. The bank has invested about $USD 68 million on corporate projects in Nigeria and about $100 million to support the small and medium scale enterprises in the country, amongst others.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate