Heritage urges peers to join in building vibrant economy

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Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo (right); President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Dr. Uche Olowu; his wife, Beatrice; and Chief Compliance Officer/Senior Manager, Heritage Bank, Wumi Adeniyi, during CIBN’s 11th yearly banking and finance conference sponsored by the bank, in Abuja.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, has tasked other commercial banks to intervene in building a formidable economy that is driven on the wheels of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).

Sekibo, who stated this on the sidelines of the 11th yearly Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme, MSMEs: “The Game Changer for Economic Growth and Development,” noted that there are lots of value and opportunities in the SMEs sector.

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Besides, he said the intervention is a way of cushioning the effect of capacity building and fund management, as the regulator introduced the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Investment Protection Fund to assist the growth and rejuvenation of the sector.

He said Heritage Bank remains poised to collaborate with operators of MSMEs to grow them into generational conglomerates.
 The banker stated that it was the desire of the bank for Nigerian businesses to be listed on the stock exchange and eventually become global brands and household names, but admitted that surviving in the face of all odds as a business in Nigeria with the present economic situation would not be an easy feat, adding that tenacity remains key characteristic of a sustainable business.

“We believe that businesses like yours are the backbone of the economy because you create jobs and play a huge role in moving our country out of this present recession. I encourage you to rise up to this challenge facing every Nigerian entrepreneur and make our economy vibrant again,” Sekibo said.
 The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who represented the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said it was no longer possible to achieve a robust growth trajectory, as well as realise the much desired inclusive growth without proper attention to MSMEs sub-sector.

He said the sector not only contribute significantly to the economy, but also serve as an impetus for economic diversification, stating that government is currently working round the clock to put the country in its rightful place in the world economy.
 He said this will be achieved through the provision of key physical infrastructure, technology and innovation as well as conducive atmosphere for small businesses to thrive. 
 But the President/Chairman of Council, CIBN, Uche Olowu, insisted that projected economy goals for Africa, particularly Nigeria would remained unrealistic if challenges affecting the contribution of MSMEs to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the sector is not prioritised.