SMEs urged to explore ICT-based growth strategies

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 …As Fidelity Bank restates commitment to SME devt


The Minister of Com­munication Technol­ogy, Dr. Omobola Johnson, has urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) players across the country to take potential advantages and benefits em­bedded in the ICT sector to grow their businesses.

Johnson said technology allows SMEs to increase their productivity and have ac­cess to market, which they wouldn’t have ordinarily by putting their business on the Internet.

Speaking shortly after the Fidelity Bank’s SME Forum Radio Show in Lagos, she said SMEs need to step up efforts to integrate ICT into their busi­ness modules by leveraging ICT to stimulate growth.

She explained: “There are two things technology does for SMES. First, it allows them to increase their productivity, which is important and two, it allows them to have access to market, which ordinarily you wouldn’t have access to, putting your business on the internet, instead of just your local market. You have access to millions if not billions of people, it means you can ac­tually sell across markets and companies.”

Speaking on the SMEs in­vestment, she said the ministry has seen a lot of opportunities in software development, say­ing it will support SMEs that are IT focused in the country.

She added: “We have about 120 million mobile lines in the country today. Developing mobile application that makes sense, relevant to people that is one of those areas that will make a lot of sense. And there are much bigger areas when we talk about data centres, device manufacturing plants, smart card manufacturing, and much bigger investment and that is beauty of the ICT sec­tor.”

Speaking of its commitment to SMEs, Managing/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, said that a lot of people are financially excluded and that banks need to bring them into the financial system by giving them access to finance.

Said he: “If nobody sup­ports SMEs, how do we build a new Dangote tomorrow? We at Fidelity Bank have a well thought out strategy to play SME and it is not just by providing loans. We designed products for equity SME clus­ters and that is why we need a forum like what we have now by bringing people like the Minister.

“As an SME, it is not just about physical market but you have to think about how to take advantage of digital economy, which is what the Minister has been talking about today and is just one of the ways we at Fi­delity Bank have continued to create awareness in the SME space because that is where the future lies, that is where you have the billionaires club of tomorrow,” he said.

He said the bank would continue to create awareness and help SMEs to succeed in the country by providing the necessary information by ensuring their businesses sur­vive.

Source : SunOnline

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