Post Views: 186 The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, at the weekend in Lagos urged stakeholders in the country...
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, at the weekend in Lagos urged stakeholders in the country to develop a proper identity management system capable of delivering value to the citizenry while making borrowing seamless.
Speaking at the 30th-anniversary conference and awards of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria’s (FICAN), he warned that without such a system, even players in the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises space will continue to grapple with financing challenges.
Sekibo, who was represented by Olusegun Akanji, Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, on the occasion where the CEO and the bank were presented with Platinum Awards for outstanding support to FICAN and Financial Reporting, respectively over the years, said the banking industry has financed a lot of SMEs in terms of count.
Unfortunately, he lamented, the SME sector currently has the largest numbers of bad loans and frauds in terms of count.
Speaking on the conference theme: “Financing Infrastructure & SMEs for inclusive growth in the post-COVID-19 economy,” he said the government alone cannot solve the country’s infrastructure challenges, and that it is the private sector that will ultimately deliver the much-needed solutions.
A statement by Ozena Utulu, acting Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, quoted the CEO as challenging government to formulate policies that would enhance such private sector interventions in Nigeria’s infrastructural development vision.
Government, Akanji said, can only provide enabling policies that will support such private sector interventions, calling for a “global private sector intervention to help us achieve a vision of infrastructural development.”
MD of FMDQ Group, Bola Koko represented by Yomi Osinubi, Head Private Market, urged Nigeria to conceive a way its domestic capital market could fund its infrastructure if she must pluck the rewards that follow.
Such infrastructure, he stressed, must be capable of attracting investors from the international and domestic capital market, even as he warned that money will only “come into an environment where capital is expected, and there is an expectation of good management of those resources and cash flows will come back to it.
“So I think there’s the issue of maybe an underlying structure where we want to put in capital like road infrastructure tax payment.
“If you want SMEs to get the best benefits of infrastructure development in the country… the CBN governor mentioned the largest area, of course, for SMEs which is energy. The second-largest is the logistics… movements of cargo around the country,” he said.
Executive Commissioner, Temidayo Obisan, who represented the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, advised that the nation should connect the right duration of money, which according to him would be long-term.
“The major thing to identify is that infrastructure is a long-term thing, so it Is essential we connect the right duration of money which is long term capital which is what capital market provides and which sec as a regulator should.
“We have about three surviving infrastructure focus funds in Nigeria now that are totalling almost a 100bn, itching about 90 billion at the moment and there are some that are registered programmes of 200billion,” he said.
More so, the Chairman of FICAN, Titus Chima Nwokoji, said to address Nigeria’s infrastructural gap, estimated at N36tr annually, a lot of the country’s economic challenges will be easily tackled.
“And coming out of COVID-19 pandemic, we know that if the infrastructure is fixed and SMEs thrive, the growth that you see will be faster.”