Monday, December 08, 2008

A microcredit NGO to cooperate with Nigerian government

The Growing Business Foundation will provide microcredit services to Nigeria to help small business people. The head of the non profit, Mrs. Ndidi Edozien, made the announcement during a meeting about microcredit in Africa.

As Vanguard reporter Michael Eboh writes, the non-governmental organization believes that lack of access to credit is what is holding Nigeria back.

She said, "If Nigeria is to grow, a lot of effort should be directed towards developing the grassroots populace, towards developing the rural areas and providing access to funds for small businesses. It is impossible to build a mega city unless we develop the rural areas. Development apart from rural and agricultural development is not tenable and unachievable. The global food and financial crisis is an attestation to that fact."

She disclosed that the over 70 per cent of the country's population that are involved in agriculture do not have access to micro credit facilities, adding that this has hindered the growth of the country's agricultural sector and contributed in further impoverishing a vast majority of Nigerians. She lamented the fact that the micro finance institutions in the country lacks the requisite capacity to meet the financial needs of the people and that majority of the commercial banks in the country have refused to provide support for the agricultural, real sector and the small businesses in the economy.

According to her, "The entrepreneur has all it takes and can make a significant difference to Nigeria's economic development. Microfinance brings the power of credit to the grass roots by way of loans to the poor, without the requirement of collateral or previous credit record Experience has shown that microfinance can help the poor to increase income, build viable businesses and reduce their vulnerability to external shocks."

She disclosed that at GBF, they have worked assiduously to enhance credit infrastructure across the country, ensuring that people get access to finance, especially women and youth.

Edozien further stated that in conjunction with its other partners, it has worked to support businesses with prospects for growth and helped in repositioning microfinance institutions in the country, making them responsive and beneficial to the people of Nigeria.

"GBF uses a portfolio of financial products services and strengthening a network of relations to develop socially responsible business programs for micro, small and medium scale entrepreneurs (MSMEs). The last nine years have seen us improve on our methodology, vigorously pursuing both best practices and local development content to achieve our vision of sustainable economic development led by socially responsible businesses," she added.

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