Fri. Sep 17th, 2021

Abia Reporters




The board and management of the Abia SME Micro Finance Bank, Friday, formally unveiled the rebranded Bank to the leadership of Aba Business Community under the auspices of the Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.

In his opening speech, Mr. Chinenye Nwaogu informed that in 2015 when the Governor took the mantle of leadership of the state, one area he ensured would form the fulcrum of his administration would be to develop the MSME ecosystem and that in doing that, identified access to finance as one of the impediments to business growth.

Mr Nwaogu said that Abia SME Micro Finance Bank is a response to the challenges facing the Abia business community, noting that the bank belongs to the people, especially the business community and invited every business owner, keke rider, driver, trader, entrepreneur to leverage the platform of the bank to grow their ideas and turn them to huge platforms.

In his opening remarks, President, Aba Chamber of Commerce, Sir Lawrence Obeta, who thanked Governor Ikpeazu for always dreaming and implementing programmes targeted at improving the opportunities available to MSMEs in Abia especially in Aba, saying that under his watch, Abia has reclaimed her status as the Hub of SMEs, trade and commerce in Nigeria.

Speaking on the history of the bank, Barr Gabe Iboko maintained that Governor Ikpeazu was poised to leave a solid and sustainable legacy through the establishment of the Micro Finance Bank specifically for SMEs and urged the business community to embrace the opportunity the bank has for them.

Introducing the products of the bank the new Managing Director of the Bank Mr Kingsley Nwobilor said the bank is poised to jump-start and grow businesses through the four core banking products of the bank including the Cluster Credit Scheme for traders, save to own for keke and taxi driver, thrift Savings Credit Scheme for traders especially market women and Abia SME Bank Diaspora Investment Fund which is a fund to be contributed by the Diaspora community to support mostly youth driven businesses.

He pointed out that many of those in the diaspora are interested in investing and empowering their kits and kins back home but do not have a structured and transparent channel to support those businesses and stated that those products will address most of the challenges facing the business community in Aba.

In their separate responses, Barr St Moses Ogbonna the leader of ATRIWA and Chief Emeka Igara the Chairman of Ariaria, thanked the Governor Ikpeazu for his vision in establishing the bank as it is actually a response to years of painful cries of keke riders and traders and pledged that their members will become the first customers of the bank.

Others who spoke including Mazi O C Williams the President of LEPMAS, Deacon Chimobi Nkaru the Chairman of School Road Market and Hon Chiemela Amanze Egege, who spoke on behalf of the youths, thanked the Governor for always initiating innovative programmes and policies for the development of the state, and observed that the bank has given hope to those at the base of the socio-economic pyramid. They assured the Governor and management of the bank the of support for the growth of the bank and build businesses.

Many others including journalists applauded the initiative of the Governor by establishing the Abia SME Micro Finance Bank to serve the interest of businesses especially those at the lower echelons the socio-economic ladder.

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On his part, the President of ASMATA, Mr Lucky Akubueze thanked the Governor for bringing this bank to bridge the access to finance gap which has been a great hindrance to the business growth in Abia State. He pointed out that Governor Ikpeazu has shown his transformational footprints across the length and breadth of the state. From infrastructural development, to MSME development and other pro people programmes of the Governor.

Akubueze asked the bank management to get ready for a surge of customers because the business community is willing to access the products of the bank. He urged the bank to focus on those at the base of the MSME pyramid.

Recall that in 2017 Governor Okezie Ikpeazu initiated the process of setting up an SME Micro Finance Bank to support the growth of SMEs in the State while the day’s event was to formally introduce the bank and its products to the Aba Business Community on the foundation of the Aba Chamber of Commerce.