Uche Usim, Abuja
As part of strategies to grow the economy, the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has called on export-oriented Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) in the Southeast and Delta states to access the N500 billion Export Stimulation Facility (ESF), and the N50 billion Export Development Fund (EDF) now domiciled with it to boost their businesses, create more jobs and contribute to the country’s foreign exchange revenue receipts.
The Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Abba Bello, who made the call in Enugu at a one-day seminar said the scheme was specifically developed to support SMEs boost their exports.
Bello, who was represented by bank’s Head of Enugu Regional Office, Mr. Chinedu Moghalu, said the two facilities were made available to NEXIM Bank last December, adding that the bank will lend at a maximum of 9 per cent interest rate. The funds, he noted, were designed to redress the declining export credit to SMEs and reposition the non-oil sector to increase its contribution to the country’s revenue generation and economic development.
“The improved export financing for non-oil exporters will enable them to upscale and expand their businesses and improve their competitiveness.
Moghalu added that the funds were made available to NEXIM by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at a time the bank had decentralised its operations to all the regions of the country for easier accessibility of its products and services to maximise their impacts. According to him, “NEXIM Bank is determined to ensure these funds achieve the desired impact of triggering non-oil export development, growth and economic progress in line with its mandate as the Trade Policy Bank of the Federal Government and the applicable CBN guidelines for the implementation of the facilities.”
Earlier in his remarks, representative of the Enugu State Governor and Special Assistant on SME Development, Anayo Agu, described the programme as timely.
“The opening of NEXIM Bank Regional Office for the Southeast and Delta states in Enugu, and the invitation to SMEs to access affordable non-oil export facilities, had been the missing link in the efforts of various governments in the region to derive maximum benefits from their investments in the SME value chain, especially in the agriculture and other non-oil sectors. It provides us the platform to reach heights we could only dream about before now.”