The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi has called on financial institutions in the country to increase the lending rate for Small and Medium Enterprises especially the Financial Technology (FinTech) startup in order to promote financial inclusiveness in the country.
Mallam Abdullahi disclosed this in a Webinar conference organised by FinTech Association of Nigeria with the theme: “COVID-19: Enabling Speedy Business and Economic Recovery Through Regulations.”
He stated that traditional banks’ lending process has long been a barrier to assessing finance for SMEs in Nigeria which is impacting the operations of the SME’s.
According to Mallam Abdullahi, the banks need to come up with innovative ideas to assist vulnerable SMEs in the era of COVID-19 that is plaguing the world.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted SMEs around the world, Nigeria inclusive.
He, however, claimed that government is providing different types of interventions and palliatives but Financial Technology is not being employed optimally for disbursement.
He noted that the interventions are to help lead the tech startups from crisis to recovery as well as support them to navigate today’s challenging business landscape.”
While reiterating the promise of president Muhammadu Buhari Administration to lift 100 million Nigeria out of poverty in 10 years, Mallam Abdullahi expressed optimism that government would support investment in startups to create jobs and future prosperity for all.
He explained that NITDA as an Information Technology regulator in the country with twin mandates to regulate and develop the sector had designed initiatives meant to provide a secure base for startup ecosystem with the inclusion of FinTech startups.
The DG aded that, immediately the government pronounced the lockdown, NITDA constituted a 10-man committee named Tech4Covid with objectives to identify innovative solutions to address the pandemic; provide enabling policies and incentives to cushion the impact of the pandemic, and build massive digital skills to reskill the region to leverage technology in different sectors.