The main task of governance all over the world is to provide social and economic infrastructure, protect life and property, and also create employment for the unemployed. The government is still expected to manage the economy by strategically formulating and implementing specific policies that can create opportunities for sustainable economic activities for the citizenry.
The need for economic development, particularly in areas such as poverty reduction, employment generation, and wealth creation focused on improving welfare and raising the general standard of living, has become a challenge that must be squarely guaranteed by government.
But to what extent can this responsibility be left to government alone? But 34-year old lender, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), believes the responsibility should not be left to government alone, because Nigeria is a country blessed with favourable climatic conditions, ample arable land and fertile soils.
Against this backdrop FCMB has taken a bold step towards empowering smallholder farmers as well as micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), which industry watchers now define as the nucleus of developed economies’ action points. This is similar the present administration’s economic agenda, in which the Federal Government is set to align its fiscal, monetary, and trade policies to stimulate economic growth.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director, FCMB, Adam Nuru, said it is a conscious business objective of the Bank to partner with government in various clearly-defined economic activities that directly impact positively on the people, particularly the MSMEs, whose daily activities supply cohesion in the basic energy chain of the nation’s economy.
In one of the economic outreaches championed by FCMB, Nuru said: “the Bank has designed a group lending programme, which aims at creating financial awareness and empowerment for financially active women through micro credits, procurement and deployment of POS, and free mobile phones. These women have been identified in self-organised and homogenous groups that provide support and peer pressure to reimburse loans. It is quite innovative in Nigeria. Our focus on this aspect with the accruing benefits, are the unbanked, under-banked and low income customer segments that are also being acquainted with financial inclusion.”
FCMB key objectives include bringing financial services closer to both urban and rural small income earners, to enable them access loans in groups to drive financial inclusion.
The scheme also offers more flexible financial services to small income earners in the market, especially women, to increase their working capital to enable them expand their asset base to finance their household needs.
Under the terms, FCMB is responsible for determining those eligible to access its numerous loan portfolios. For instance, for MSME businesses to benefit, prospective participants must be 18-60 years, and also belong to a group. The group’s size must be 5-25 members, who enjoy mutual trust, confidence and respect, and live or work in close proximity to one another. The customer must have an income generating activity or business, which has been in existence for at least six months, and must exhibit the potential to save. And Group members are expected to be residing within a radius of 1km. FCMB is also offering free four weeks training organised for borrowers before loans’ disbursement.
Speaking on the economic agenda, Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said: “government’s effort to restore growth depends very much on improved macroeconomic conditions. Accordingly, fiscal, monetary, and trade policies are being aligned to stimulate the economy and support growth while preventing overheating.”Tags: banking