Something just struck me. I applied for a tiny loan from a commercial bank (before I decided not to borrow again in my life). The officers looked at records and said my lodgements do not qualify me for a loan. I thought back to my days in Icon Merchant Bank when we tailored facilities to meet the peculiar needs of each client. We laboured to make businesses grow and derived pleasure from business success with no cash gratification.
It occurred to me that today, no commercial bank in Nigeria funds micro and small enterprises reason the banker to banks and government now dabbles into N100, 000 loans to fruit sellers, hairdressers, and barbers. Small loans come with too much trouble so commercial banks are willing to pay the penalty for not lending to them leaving CBN to do that. What shortsightedness and technical ignorance?
Let it be stated here that the strongest economies in the world sit on a base provided by micro, small, and medium enterprises(MSMEs). Because of their importance, the Small Business Administration (SBA) of the USA is directly under the Presidency.
Let it be known that the Nigerian economy will NEVER develop until attention is paid to MSMEs. Commercial banks mop micro funds from individuals and small businesses to lend to the billion Naira contractors. The banks make the safe and hassle-free millions and the staff and shareholders smile all the way to their individual banks.
Nigeria’s economy has no base; it is a bubble based on dollars from a wasting asset that has a life span. Arab countries are desperately ploughing petro-dollars into real investments for generations coning while we fly our mothers and entire families to Dubai to celebrate a mother’s birthday. Imagine that exact money being used to establish a school and named after our mothers in their lifetimes. Would that not be saner and longer-lasting?
Fellow Nigerians, forget about the ongoing farce in NDDC etc. Ignore them because free money is never properly invested. If you have spare money, start and, or support a micro business. When ordinary citizens are sure of food, shelter, clothing, school fees for their children, and drugs for their health, they don’t care if the National Assembly buys Camry at N27m for each member or Toyota SUV at N38 million. One day those cars will be used as taxis or to carry firewood plus cassava cuttings the way Fela did with Range Rover when it first hit the Nigerian market. One day ordinary Nigerians will pay N100.00 (yes one hundred Naira) for a ride in those SUVs when the owners can no longer maintain them after all those big cars are used as taxis where they are produced while public officers use the clean and comfortable tram and buses including double-deckers. That day will come to pass.
God bless Nigerians as they forget riots against self-misled people but take the country’s destiny into their hands. Start a garden or a micro business today. In ten years we will be like South Korea, once poor and written off 60 years ago now 11th economy in the world. By then Ghana will not be placed in front of Nigeria in relevance as a former American Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman has just stated. We have the capacity and the drive.
Arise O compatriots!