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Weak capacity key challenge of Nigerian SMEs—Okonkwo, Fidelity Bank CEO

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The major factor frustrating the smooth operations of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria has been identified by the Group Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo.

In his keynote address during the opening session of the entrepreneurship training workshop for small businesses organised in partnership with EMPRETEC in Abuja, he observed that lack of capacity remained one of the major impediments in the growth of the sector. He revealed that lack of capacity accounted for over 80 per cent of the challenges facing small scale businesses.

However, very close to the issue of weak capacity, according to him, includes unstable government policies, lack of collateral to access loans, hostile business environment and funding remained a nightmare for aspiring businesses.

But he was quick to point out that his bank, having identified the gaps, decided to wade in to ameliorate the challenges of SMEs through capacity enhancement.

Okonkwo assured that Fidelity Bank is committed to building sustainable small enterprises, noting that only 50 per cent of such enterprises survive beyond three years because of lack of capacity and funds which pose major challenges.

To him, “It doesn’t matter how much money they have, without capacity it will be lost”.

Fidelity Bank boss, represented by the Group Head, Specialised SMEs, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Ndubuisi Onuoha, noted that the lender over the year, has strong focus for the development of small scale entrepreneurs and businesses in Nigeria.

He was upbeat that the joint training programme would among other things, expose participants to the complexities of the business environment in other to grow and contribute to the economy.

Business Hilights recalls that SMEs form key bases for several developing economies and they are driven by effective government policies, training and easy access to funding.

Continuing, Okonkwo averred that “In Fidelity, we are very strong in SMEs and we have a lot of programmes being run for SMEs and we are partnering with Lagos Business School to encourage exports for our customers. This program is to empower our entrepreneurs to make them better businessmen.”