The Small and Medium Scale Micro-Finance (SME) Banks are aimed at providing the necessary aid to help the masses and, market folk in their various lines of business.
Chinenye Nwogu, the special adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Social Investments, in a statement, said the SME will help finance startups in the development of their businesses.
Mr Nwogu added that the bank, unveiled in Aba on Friday by Mr Ikpeazu, would focus on developing small and medium scale businesses in Aba.
Mr Ikpeazu mooted the idea of establishing the SME bank when he assumed office in 2015.
“The vision for this bank is to hand it over to the citizens to address the bottlenecks that hinder businesses from accessing micro credits so that they can continue to inject money and grow their businesses,” said Mr Nwogu. “So, this bank is a response to the challenge of access to finance in Abia, and in the course of time, the bank will transit to become a bank owned by the people and not the government.”
The bank’s managing director Kingsley Nwobilor said establishing the bank was the right step in the right direction.
Mr Nwaobilor listed the bank’s packages to include “Cluster Credit Scheme for traders, Save to Own for tricycle operators and taxi drivers, and Thrift Savings Credit Scheme” for traders, especially market women. Others are the “Abia SME Bank Diaspora Investment Fund” and the “Abia Youth Entrepreneurship” scheme.
Chairman of Ariaria International Market Traders Association, Emeka Igara, and the Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMASS) president Okechukwu Williams commended the government for establishing the SME bank.
They expressed confidence that the bank would help artisans expand grow their businesses.