By Mustapha H.
Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU with Micro Finance Banks, MFBs in a bid to grow Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs.
Hence, the SMEDAN launched One Local Government One Product, OLOP, in order to ease access to loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for SMEs in the Northwest region of Nigeria.
Speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Agreement with Candidates of Cooperatives and Micro Finance Banks on the Implementation of OLOP, the Director-General of SMEDAN, Ummaru Dikko Radda said the project is to assist SMEs to grow their businesses.
According to him, the major challenge that hinders the growth of SMEs was the lack of access to loans from the CBN as a result of stringent measures introduced by the apex bank.
He explained that the purpose of introducing the OLOP project, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, was to identify a single product in one local government area and assist the SMEs operators, in form of cooperatives, with financial, technical and marketing support.
He further explained that SMEDAN would provide a zero-interest loan, which it facilitated from the CBN, adding that the beneficiaries would pay 70% back to the central bank and reinvest the remaining 30% into their business.
“But there must be a NEEDS assessment for the program to be successful. We at SMEDAN, we shall provide machinery and working capital for the SMEs operators.
” This program was borrowed in Japan since 2004 but it is in 2016 that SMEDAN had implemented it to help SMEs operators grow their business.
“Our duty is to guide you to grow your business and assist others to grow theirs. We shall provide you with working capital, shares, and machineries, ” he said
While congratulating the beneficiaries, he urged them to appreciate the federal government’s gesture by settling their debts as at when due.