As online marketing businesses continue to witness a steady growth, especially in the area of consumer goods, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has restated its commitment to increasing Small and Medium Enterprises' (SMEs) access to cheap funds in the country as well as disbursed about 85 per cent of its funds to SMEs.
The bank noted that the creation of various niches in the value-chain process has also geared the bank to look at developing products that would address the needs of small businesses in Nigeria.
Speaking at a forum on electronic commerce in Nigeria, organised by the London School of Economics (LSE) Alumni Association in Lagos recently, the Executive Director, Operations, BoI, Mohammed Alkali said the bank has not deviated from its core mandate of making provisions for small businesses to drive desired growth in the real sector.
He added that though the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has recently raised its stake on funds available to small businesses, BoI remains committed to making sure it disburses about 85 per cent of its funds to SMEs. He said further: "E-commerce is one area that is coming up very fast and there are lots of niches being created in the process. BoI looks at those niches and develops new products to aid the process.
"These niches involve value-chain processes. We remain committed to this process. BoI's financing strategy is designed to provide financial and business support services to existing and new industries to attain modern capabilities for the production of goods that are competitive in both domestic and external markets. A lot of funds has been disbursed to industries under BoI's intervention programme for the SMEs sector and we would not relent in doing that."
Speaking on the topic, "E-Commerce in Nigeria", the Chief Executive of Hello Food, an online food delivery company, Joe Falter, explained that despite the growing challenges of small business in Nigeria business operating environment, e-commerce provides a good opportunity for many entrepreneurs if the potential is fully harnessed. According to him, the teeming youth population and heavy Internet usage in Nigeria provide opportunities for small businesses to harness the potential in e-commerce.
Indeed, the changing face of business transactions through electronic communications in the area of business to business (B2B), business to consumers (B2C), business to government (B2G) and mobile e-commerce has begun to gain attention, as global B2B transactions comprise 90 per cent of all e-commerce.