The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has assured entrepreneurs set to commence operations at the Edo Production Centre, of the availability of favourable financing options through the apex bank’s NIRSAL National Microfinance Bank, to complement other incentives for industrial production at the facility.
Emefiele, who disclosed this during a visit to the Centre along Sapele Road-axis of Benin City, Edo State, lauded Governor Godwin Obaseki, for his vision in setting up the facility.
The Hub is a cluster for Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state, where they will enjoy 24-hour electricity supply, share resources and other business support services aimed at boosting productivity. The cluster is to be set up in the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
Emefiele identified the biggest challenges faced by SMEs to include access to finance and a conducive environment with constant electricity supply for uninterrupted production, noting that Governor Obaseki has provided a solution to these problems with the production Centre.
The governor of the apex bank added, “For us at the CBN, this facility makes it easy for us to have a place to meet people who are ready to do business. As CBN, we are trying to deal with issues of access to finance and this place provides an opportunity.”
On his part, Edo State Governor, Mr Obaseki said the Centre has helped his administration to move towards hitting the 200,000 jobs target of the state government.
He said, ” We set up this hub to help us achieve our aim of creating a minimum of 200,000 jobs during the first four years in office in the civil service. We are not expected to give out the jobs in the civil service, but rather create most of them in the private sector. So, we are providing opportunities for industrialisation.”
“We are providing 24-hour electricity to ensure profitability, as we have eliminated initial setup cost such as cost for electricity, security, water, among others,” the governor added.
He assured the CBN governor that the Production Centre will be commissioned by the second week of June when the facility will be ready for business, noting, “A lot of people are interested in the facility. We have received about 200 applications from small business owners who have shown interest to own spaces at the hub.”
On opportunities for financing for SMEs, Emefiele said although Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and microfinance institutions are set up to deal with the issues of financing, the CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee have established the National Micro Finance Bank to expand access to financing.
“We have set up over 20 centres for the National Micro Finance Bank (NMFB) across the country and I am sure Edo State will have a share,” Emefiele noted.
He said entrepreneurs who wish to benefit from the bank, would enjoy single-digit interest loans, noting, “If you are given a loan with about 9 per cent and if you are getting constant electricity, your cost of production will certainly be low and you can compete effectively, employ others and also grow the economy.”