In a move to ease access to loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), especially in the Northwest, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), has introduced an initiative called One Local Government One Product (OLOP).
Speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Agreement with Candidates of Cooperatives and Micro Finance Banks on the implementation of OLOP, held in Kano, recently, the Director General of SMEDAN, Umaru Dikko Radda, disclosed that the initiative was targeted at assisting small businesses to grow.
According to Radda, the major challenge militating against the growth of SMEs in the country is lack of access to loans from the CBN, as a result of stringent measures introduced by the apex bank.
He however, explained that the purpose of introducing the OLOP project was to identify a single product in one local government area to assist the SMEs operators, in form of cooperatives with financial, technical and marketing support. He further assured that SMEDAN would provide zero interest loan, which it facilitated from CBN, and that the beneficiaries would pay 70 percent back to the CBN and reinvest the remaining 30 percent into their businesses.
“There must be a NEEDS assessment for the programme to be successful. We at SMEDAN shall provide machinery and working capital for the SMEs operators.
“This program was borrowed in Japan since 2004 but it was in 2016 that SMEDAN had it implemented with a view to helping SMEs operators grow their businesses. Our duty is to guide you to grow your business and assist others grow theirs. We shall provide you with working capital, shares and machineries,” he said.
While congratulating the beneficiaries and urging them to reciprocate the Federal Government’s gesture by settling their debts as and when due, Radda added that in order to address the challenges, SMEDAN has initiated a debt settlement policy where 30 percent of the accessed loan would be settled by SMEDAN and the remaining 70 percent would be settled by the small scale entrepreneurs.
Lending credence to the initiative, the Zonal Coordinator of SMEDAN in Kano, Ahmad Madaki, said the intervention being offered by SMEDAN includes workplace, working capital and machinery.