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DBN boss restates bank’s commitment to empowering MSMEs

by Business News Report

Managing Director, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), Dr Tony Okpanachi, says the bank has provided long-term finance to over 60 Primary Financial Institutions (PFIs) since its inception. This is to address challenges confronting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Okpanachi said this to newsmen in Lagos while presenting the progress and achievements of the bank in the past five years, especially on its operation as a wholesale development finance institution. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PFIs are commericial banks and microfinance banks that get long-term facilities from DBN to provide financing to MSME operators as end-borrowers. DBN, as a Development Finance Institution (DFI), was conceived by the Federal Government in collaboration with global development partners to address the major financing challenges facing Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

The managing director said that the bank as at December 2022 had provided N631 billion as financing support to the PFIs, while over 313,000 MSMEs had benefited from the support which led to the creation of more than 900,000 jobs. Also, on women empowerment and gender equality, he said that women-owned MSMEs accounted for 69 per cent of all businesses financed by the end of the 2022 financial year. He noted that the bank continued to catalyse growth across key and various sectors, changing the dynamics of development in the country. “The trade and commerce sector in Nigeria, for instance, accounts for the highest number of micro-businesses and informal enterprises within the country.

“According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), more than 80 per cent of the entire population of Nigeria, which is more than 160 million Nigerians, depends on the informal economy. This means that the trade and commerce sector is the hope of daily survival and livelihood for most Nigerian families and entrepreneurs,” the bank chief said. He said that management of DBN recognised this critical need and thereby channelled N230 billion to support small businesses in the trade and commerce sector over the past five years, leading up to December 2022. Okpanachi said that the manufacturing sector contributed between 12 per cent to 17 per cent to the national economy over the past three to five years and it remained one of the highest labour-intensive sectors. The managing director said that the bank had also supported MSME players in the manufacturing sector with more than N69 billion in financing.

According to him, the bank has also been supporting small businesses in the agriculture sector which is crucial for improving food security in Nigeria. “The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) recognises the significance of agriculture in the country’s economy and has allocated substantial funding to agro-MSMEs. Okpanachi said the bank had provided N27 billion to Agro-MSMEs which played a vital role in supporting agricultural activities, empowering farmers, and promoting agro-entrepreneurship. “The financial support provided by DBN has helped agro-MSMEs to enhance their operations, invest in modern farming techniques, acquire machinery and equipment, expand their production capacity, and access new markets,” he noted. The managing director also said that apart from agriculture, financing support was extented to various other sectors, recognising their importance in the overall development and prosperity of the Nigerian economy.

According to him, those other sectors are Hospitality and Tourism, education, Health and Technology with N13 billion, N12 billion, N11.5 billion, and N11 billion respectively. Okpanachi disclosed that the bank plans to raise additional funds through the issuance of bonds, saying the process has reached an advanced stage and will come up soon. He said, “As we celebrate these achievements, we remain resolute in our commitment to even greater heights. While acknowledging the hurdles that lie ahead, we embrace them as gateways to transformation, innovation, and a greater sphere of influence. “We will continue to leverage our strengths, build viable partnerships, and explore new opportunities for impact, ensuring that the Development Bank of Nigeria remains a catalyst for sustainable development.” (NAN

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