Sterling Bank has recently signed an agreement with the Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) to establish a comprehensive database of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria.
This will help in scaling intervention programmes and providing tailored solutions that truly contribute to the growth of SMEs.
Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, the Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, while speaking at the ceremony which took place in Lagos, expressed his optimism about the collaboration.
He emphasised that genuine collaborations, driven by opportunity rather than regulation, often yield positive outcomes.
He regarded this partnership as one of those promising ventures, highlighting that no external regulatory pressure compelled their cooperation.
Suleiman, stressed the MoU’s significance while noting the critical role of data in economic development.
He asserted that the agreement marks the beginning of a journey towards a formalised economy, enabling the government to intervene effectively when necessary.
Suleiman also emphasised the importance of SMEs having access to capital based on their historical data.
In order to do this, he stressed the importance of developing an atmosphere that motivates SMEs to self-report, even if it is just to be eligible for SMEDAN services.
Suleiman, also emphasised that self-reporting is the initial step for small and medium businesses to become auditable institutions.
“Sterling Bank is committed to dedicating its resources to the success of the MoU and will advocate for government support of SMEs”.
Suleiman noted that the outcomes of this collaboration would benefit the entire banking industry, not just Sterling Bank.
Mr Olawale Fasanya, Director General of SMEDAN, expressed his appreciation for the bank’s initiative and highlighted the MoU’s immense value to SMEDAN’s operations. Fasanya stressed the criticality of data to their activities, citing their recent online registration of SMEs. Despite registering approximately 3.8 million SMEs through this initiative, the data still requires cleaning.
Fasanya emphasised that the availability of accurate data would enable SMEDAN to connect SMEs operating within the same market.