Finance

SMEs critical for sustainable development – Lagos commissioner

SMEs critical for sustainable development – Lagos commissioner

The Commissioner of Finance, Lagos State, Abayomi Oluyomi, has described Small and medium Enterprises as a critical engine for sustainable development in any economy.

He spoke on Wednesday at the 10th anniversary of the Alert Group Microfinance Bank and the opening of their new head office in Lagos.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, SMEs accounted for about 50 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product.

The commissioner said, “According to the National Bureau of Statistics, SMEs account for about 50 per cent of GDP. SMEs employ over 60 million Nigerians or roughly 25 per cent of the entire population. This makes SMEs the backbone of the economy – representing a critical engine for sustainable development, poverty alleviation and wealth creation. This pattern is the same in Lagos being the hub of the Nigerian economy.”

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He hailed the positive impact of the Alert MFB as it empowers SMEs in the State.

“Alert MFB in the past 10 years has been at the forefront of empowering SMEs in Lagos State, disbursing over N30bn in loans to over 30,000 individuals and small to medium businesses over that period, which is quite remarkable.

“To this end, Alert MFB is a partner for growth. As we gather here, it is imperative to recognise the pivotal role that Alert MFB as an SME-enabler is playing in driving economic growth, fostering innovation, and creating employment opportunities in Lagos State and Nigeria at large.”

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Speaking, the Group Managing Director of Alert Group, Dr Kazeem Olanrewaju, revealed that the financial institution commenced business in 2013 as a microfinance bank

“We started this journey in 2013 and it has been expanding. Today, they have about 10 branches across Lagos. They have supported well over 30,000 clients and have disbursed over N30bn. The company has been profitable since the second year. Looking at the market and the available opportunity, the Alert MFB board decided to come together to establish an MFI, which is the Auto Bucks Lenders.”

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The GMD further stated that the company was focused more on supporting businesses and small and medium enterprises.

“The loan to support business represents over 98 per cent. The consumer loans you will see are the ones given to entrepreneurs. So, the area of focus of Alert MFB and Auto Bucks Lenders is to support businesses across the country.

“With the establishment of Auto Bucks Lenders, we have the opportunity to also do business outside Lagos. So, presently, we have offices in Ogun State and Oyo State. We intend to go to every part of Nigeria to support what we are doing,” he declared.

Punch

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