Abia Govt., NSE to partner on SME development

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By Ayo Fadimu

Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia has expressed his readiness to partner with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) toward the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.

Ikpeazu made this known on Monday, when officials of the stock exchange paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Umuahia.

He expressed delight over the “interventions of NSE in the area of finance,” adding that the state government would deploy available resources to create a favourable environment for the partnership to thrive.

He said his administration had made efforts to address the issues affecting the growth of SMEs in the state and had recorded significant success in that regard.

The governor lauded NSE for creating a platform that would support the growth of SME’s through technical knowledge on financial management.

He said: “We need to deepen the conversation to help our people understand that government is an enabler not a stumbling block.

“We need to inform them that coming to the stock exchange doesn’t mean that one has made it but for them to understand that finance must be placed in the hands of people who have clear vision and ideas of what to do with money.

“We are willing to create the environment that will make SMEs embrace the initiative.

“We are interested in encouraging initiatives that will facilitate the actualisation of trans-generational businesses,” Okezie said.

He urged NSE to initiate measures to ensure that its Growth Board Initiative (GBI) recorded huge success in Abia and the rest of Nigeria.

Earlier, Mr. Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the President of the National Council of NSE, said that NSE had commenced a programme aimed at providing SMEs with growth opportunities.

Ogunbanjo said that the nation’s economy would not grow without nurturing SMEs, adding that the initiative would greatly help in nurturing businesses to attain greater heights.

He commended Abia government for promoting SME’s development through its programmes and policies, saying that government had created growth opportunities for SMEs.

Ogunbanjo said that the GBI was initiated to help collapsing small businesses, with declined operations because of COVID-19 pandemic, to get back on their feet.

“We want to market the opportunity to list and use the platform of the exchange to raise capital, because a lot of businesses have suffered the lack of funds due to COVID-19.

“We are relying on the private sector and the state government to coalesce their business styles to bring about an audience to which the exchange can speak to their problems and let them know the benefits of using the exchange as a platform.

“We are hoping that Abia government will facilitate that as well as use the available resources and direct them to the exchange,” Ogunbanjo further said.

The representative of Listings Business Division of NSE, Mr. Olumide Bolumole, said that the exchange developed a platform called Growth Board to build SMEs.

Bolumole said that the platform would allow businesses at their stages of growth to enter the capital market to raise funds and allow liquidity in their shares.

“We want this sort of companies to leverage the platform to increase visibility, attract global capital and achieve longevity,” he said.