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Financial institutions charged to increase lending rate for SMEs

By Juliet Umeh

The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has called on financial institutions in Nigeria to increase lending rate for Small and Medium Enterprises, especially the Financial Technology, FinTech, start up in order to promote financial inclusiveness.

Abdullahi made the appeal during a Webinar conference organised by FinTech Association of Nigeria with the theme: “COVID-19: Enabling Speedy Business and Economic Recovery through Regulations.

He said the bottleneck process in traditional banks’ lending process, is responsible for the slow pace of growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in Nigeria.

He said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted SMEs around the world, Nigeria inclusive. Traditional bank lending process has long been a barrier to accessing finance for SMEs in Nigeria.

“Our interventions are to help lead the tech startups from crisis to recovery as well as support them to navigate today’s challenging business landscape,” he added.

While reiterating the promise of president Muhammadu Buhari Administration to lift 100 million Nigeria out of poverty in 10 years, the DG Abdullahi expressed optimism that the government would support investment in startups to create jobs and future prosperity for all.

He explained that NITDA as an Information Technology regulator in the country with twin mandates to regulate and develop the sector, had designed initiatives meant to provide a secure base for the startup ecosystem with inclusion of FinTech startups.

“Immediately the government pronounced the lockdown, NITDA constituted a 10-man committee named Tech4Covid with objectives to identify innovative solutions to address the pandemic; provide enabling policies and incentives to cushion the impact of the pandemic; and build massive digital skills to re-skill the region to leverage technology in different sectors.’’

On funding for the innovative ideas of the startups, the NITDA DG recalled that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami had directed all parastatals under the supervision of the ministry to make provision for innovative research and innovations.

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