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NICA advocates business-friendly loans for SMEs

SME operators trained on global market skills

The National Institute of Credit Administration has said the availability of loans with low interest rates and flexible repayment terms will boost the profitability of Small and Medium scale Enterprises.

In a statement made available to our correspondent on Sunday, the Chief Executive Officer of NICA, Prof. Chris Onalo, said a business-friendly loan would encourage intending and existing entrepreneurs to borrow to start new businesses and expand existing ones.

He stated, “It is difficult for businesses to break even with high-interest rate loans because the SMEs have other high operating costs, which will make repayment a challenge to them. To be better competitors and be empowered to expand their trades, businesses should have access to single-digit interest-rate loans with flexible repayment options. This is the ideal situation that will boost a business-friendly environment.”

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 He called for support that would enable businesses to thrive better in the country because they provide livelihood to a large proportion of the population.

The National Bureau of Statistics labour data showed that a majority of Nigerians were self-employed.

“Majority of Nigerians are self-employed while a much smaller proportion holds wage jobs. In Q4 (2022) and Q1 (2023), 73.1 per cent and 75.4 per cent of employed Nigerians respectively worked in their own business or farming activity for their primary job,” NBS said in the report.

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According to t Onalo, businesses in advanced countries are well positioned to compete better in their countries, and even in other countries where they expand because of access to low-interest rate loans which are usually lower single digits.

He claimed that access to cheap loans would provide more finance to SMEs because they would have more money to save, adding that it would reduce their debt repayment burden, and increase capital for expansion as they would pay less over the life span of the loan.

While observing that lending institutions may not want to offer long-term loans in some cases, the NICA boss advocated flexible loan solutions that would help to reduce repayment strain on business owners’ finances.

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With access to flexible repayment terms, NICA said, entrepreneurs would avoid patronising loan sharks, and choose from a variety of loan durations that suit their repayment plans to fit their budget and financial goals.

punch

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