Some participants at the event.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Owners of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs in Plateau State have been engaged in a dialogue to sensitize them on having access to finance to upscale their businesses.

The Plateau State Micro-Finance Development Agency, PLASMIDA, and the Plateau State One-Stop Investment Centre, PS-OSIC organised the dialogue with the support of the Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Development for Decent Employment in Nigeria, SEDIN, pro-poor growth and promotion of employment in Nigeria programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale, GIZ.

In their separate remarks, the Secretary to the Government of Plateau State, Mr. Samuel Jatau, and the GIZ SEDIN’s Head of Component, Business Enabling Environment Reforms and Sustainable Infrastructure, Akinropo Omoware reiterated the importance of access to finance for businesses to thrive.

Jatau, who is also the Chairman of the Plateau State Ease of Doing Business Council, called on small business owners to harness the opportunities presented by the dialogue to forge deeper partnerships, foster innovation, and unlock new pathways to prosperity.

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He said that the State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang was interested in the growth of small businesses hence the governor has “strengthened the capacity of PLASMIDA to support MSMEs with the recent launching of the Plateau Job Centre. The government has approved that discussions be reopened with the Bank of Industry for the establishment of shared facilities to provide MSMEs with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure, technology, and resources to enhance their productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability.”

Omoware pointed out the essence of proper data generation and management as a lack of dependable data is a bane to progress in businesses and advocated for a database of small businesses in the State to ensure proper planning and guidance for small business owners to have access to funds and promised his organization’s continued support to small businesses in the State.

Setting the context for the dialogue, Akinwande Pearse, the Technical Advisor, GIZ-SEDIN made a presentation on expanding access to finance and pointed out some of the challenges MSMEs in the State faced in accessing credit including, “lack of information, lack of loan application experience, limited sources of capital, lack of awareness of private schemes.

“Corruption, unstable policies, lack of trust in government, bureaucratic hurdles, high-interest rates, collateral requirements, and lengthy application processes,” and explained that government intervention including “the establishment of a State MSMEs Fund has the potential to significantly improve access to finance for MSMEs in the State.”

There were presentations by representatives of Commercial and Microfinance banks on exploring MSME funding options in the State. The Director-General of PLASMIDA, Bomkam Wuyep enlightened the participants on how to access funds while Roseline Bentu, the Centre Manager, PS-OSIC highlighted the key takeaways from the sessions, action points, and follow-up activities.

The event also featured a panel discussion to identify barriers and opportunities in access to finance as representatives from government agencies, financial institutions, industry associations, and other stakeholders gave insights into accessing funds while participants asked questions and got answers.

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