Posted by News Express | 12 June 2015 | 4,179 times
In a bid to ensure that Anambra State achieves sustainable development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and becomes the hub for MSME empowerment in the country, the Governor of the State, Chief Willie Obiano has inaugurate the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) to serve as the catalyst for growth in the MSME sector in the state.
Inaugurating the Agency at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia on Wednesday, Governor Obiano announced that the state had secured the sum of N2 billion for on-lending through ASBA to eligible beneficiaries in partnership with participating financing institutions that meet specific selection criteria in the State.
Of the N2 billion made accessible to Anambra State after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) with an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) for the principal and accrued interest, the sum of N1 Billion has already been drawn-down out of which the sum of N205m was disbursed to beneficiaries in the first phase of the scheme.
The handing over of symbolic cheques to some of the beneficiaries took place at the flag-off of the First Phase of the ASBA/CBN MSMEs Development Fund in Anambra State, Wednesday at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia.
The first set of 10 beneficiaries were shortlisted after due diligence for the Revolving Working Capital Facility. Among the beneficiaries are Austraco industries Limited for bakery and beverages production; Bold Ventures Limited, for PVC Pipe manufacturing and Zara Industries Limited, for poultry and fish feed production.
Others are I.I.C. Construction Co. Limited, for fabricated steel production; Omus Oil Limited, for production of steel and associated materials and Restructure Nigeria Limited, for production of aluminum cooking pots.
Speaking after the inauguration, Governor Obiano expressed happiness that the fund drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) counterpart grant has finally been accessed by the state with the aim of addressing the gap and unlocking the potentials of Nigerian MSMEs in order to improve their access to finance, shore up potentials for job creation, and enable them reduce poverty within the country.
He stated, “ASBA already has a template to ensure proper disbursement of the funds,”
To CBN, the governor assured: “I want to assure you that under my watch, the money will come home.”
According to him, “MSMEs are globally recognised as the critical engine of economic growth due to their potential to create jobs, food production, generate income and reduce poverty,” stressing that “Anambra State is a significant hub for MSMEs in the country, with the State known as the nucleus for both the Automotive Spare Parts Industry in Nnewi and General Merchandise in Onitsha.”
The governor commended ASBA for making the initiative come to fruition, stressing that members of ASBA Board were carefully selected with a composition of eminently qualified individuals who will ensure the integrity and transparency of the process.
He noted that the impact the MSMEs activities would have with proper funding in tandem with the government’s Agricultural programme which is one of his administration’s 4 Pillars of Economic Development.
Such initiatives like the massive production of fish fingerlings at the Local government level, he noted, would eventually lead to exports and the existence of fish villages, with ripples effect on employment and economic empowerment.
In a brief remark, Chairman of ASBA Board, Hon Greg Obi, observed that the governor’s vision for the realisation of the ASBA initiative was laser-focused since the inauguration of the Board over six months ago.
He thanked the governor for his support to the agency which ensured the realisation of its successful take-off as demonstrated in the event of the day.
Elaborating on the operations of ASBA, Managing Director/CEO, Mr Clement Chukwuka, described ASBA as the State’s Special Purpose Vehicle for assessing the MSMEs fund and assured that the agency is committed to not just disbursing and monitoring the MSMEs who accessed the funds, but also to seeking other funding sources for the financial and capacity empowerment of small to medium scale businesses in Anambra State.
He noted that ASBA acts as a catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth in Anambra State with an intermediate object to ensure that accessible funds get to the critical MSME space.
Mr. Chukwuka further observed that part of the efforts to have a robust implementation framework informed the creation of two (2) separate funding programmes, namely: the SME Retail Lending Program with Fidelity Bank as the Participating Financial Institution (PFI) with Maximum Application window of N50 Million, and the Wholesale Microenterprise Lending Program with select Microfinance Banks in Anambra State as the PFIs with Maximum Application window of N500, 000.
He stated that the fund is not free, hence provision has been made in such a way that an instrument known as the Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) has been put in place at the CBN and the beneficiaries to this fund are expected to show the same commitment the State has made by providing suitable collaterals to support the facility amount requested
According to him, these funds would be provided to beneficiaries at a flat rate of 9%, with no hidden charges.
The Managing Director/CEO of ASBA also explained that the vision of ASBA is to facilitate easier access to resources required by entrepreneurs and investors of MSMEs in Anambra State to achieve sustainable economic development with a multiplier effects in the area of food production, employment generation, among others.
Explaining the role of the CBN in the process, Head Development Finance Department CBN Awka Branch, Mrs. Uzo Nwankwo commended the state for being among the few who have accessed the fund. HE is passionate about the fund and I am happy he has got it.
I must say that the fund is. Expected to go out and return PFIS especially at the SME level to ensure that after every application that beneficiaries are credited within 5 working days. Thereafter you start monitoring, and CBN will also monitor every quarter. PFIS must ensure monitoring and repayment by beneficiaries.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries Managing Director of DE Zara Industries Ltd, Mr. Aka Egwuonwu who got N50m said that he will plough the fund into Fish feed production.
“This fund couldn’t have come at a better time; I promise that the money will be put to good use. Already they’ve credited our banks. Your passion for agriculture is ensuring that we now get our raw materials from Anambra unlike before when we source from outside. Today we have moved from 34 staff to 60 staff. I thank the governor on behalf of all other beneficiaries of this fund,” he said.
•Photo shows Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, and a cross-section of ASBA Board members at the Flag-Off of MSMEDF N2bn Fund . . . Wednesday at the Governor’s Lodge Amawbia.
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