Thursday, 19 May 2016

25th Edition of Anambra Scorecard: The Hot Questions and Cool Answers with Chief Clement Chukwuka of ASBA


The 25th Edition of Anambra Scorecard held on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 discussed “ASBA - Empowering SMEs and Micro-enterprises in Anambra State... The Journey So far” with Chief Clement Chukwuka, the MD/CEO of ASBA.

ASBA, which is the acronym for Anambra Small Business Agency, was established by Gov Willie Obiano to make Anambra State the authentic hub for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria by fraternizing with local, national and international financial institutions to provide single digit loans, necessary advice and capacity building for the empowerment and development of ndi Anambra.

Reproduced below are the hot questions and cool answers from the 2 hours interaction:

Question


What packages are available for interested "Ndi Anambra" from your esteemed office? How can we assess them? What is your office's contact email and mobile numbers?

Answer


First and fore-most, ASBA is like a development financial institution put in place by Gov Willie Obiano, a world class banker for the financial empowerment and development of ndi Anambra.

Thus ASBA has the capacity to provide single digit interest funding for Micro-enterprises and SMEs; it has the mandate to fraternize with local, national and international financial institutions like World Bank, CBN, etc. It also has the mandate to carry out capacity building through training and advice. It equally has the mandate to make Anambra State the authentic hub for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria at all times.

ASBA started by providing single digit loan totalling 1bn loan from CBN for SMEs in Anambra State. The requirements for this loan were: Proper registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission; Robust financial statement and proper collaterals.

ASBA is currently processing the disbursement of N1bn Micro-credit facility from CBN for artisans, cottage industries and market women. This is for 60% women and 40% men. The interest is 9% per annum or three-quarter percent monthly.

The maximum amount to be given is N500,000 for individuals and N5m for co-operatives and it requires only a guarantor of level 14 and above or a serving Senior Special Assistant up-to Commissioner or high net worth individuals or a qualified market stall or shop.

Question


Chief, please can you tell us the need, the importance of this establishment to Ndi Anambra, the benefits to a common man on the street and what ASBA is all about. Also, the source of funding, is it from federal or state government?

Answer


The importance of Micro enterprise and SMEs cannot be overemphasized. They are the critical engine to economic growth; they create employment and provide food.

Micro-enterprise and SMEs accounts for 60% and 95% of GDP in Nigerian and Anambra State respectively. So, ASBA solves the key problem of giving access to single digit loan facilities, that is cheap fund to these Micro-enterprises and SMEs.

ASBA can source for funding from local, national and international institutions. The funds can also be in the form of grants.

Question


What is the limit of the facility accessible by an individual? Are there areas of endeavour not to be covered under the facility? Does one have to provide collateral/security requirement before accessing such facility and what is the repayment time frame and mode?

Answer


The only areas not covered are illegal businesses.

For Micro-enterprises, it covers agricultural value chain, cottage industries, trade and commerce, services or any other economically viable business that would be accommodated within the limited amount which is N500,000 for an individual and N5m for cooperatives. The tenure of the facility is 1 year at 9% interest rate per annum. This is structured for 60% Women and 40% Men.

For SMEs which we have completed, the tenure could extent to 5 years maximum. This covers basically those in the Agricultural Value Chain, services, schools, trade and commerce, etc. The highest amount allowed under this sector is N50m and the lowest is N10m at same interest rate.

Question


Sir I want to appeal that this noble scheme be extended to graduating students of Anambra State or rather a sensitization campaign should be carried out in schools. If a graduating student with good entrepreneurial skills can lay hold of starting capital, where do you think such a person will be in a few years time, coupled with the Anambra spirit in him? That will be great empowerment for Ndi Anambra.

Also, your agency should also have a form of mentorship and monitoring programme, to help teach people some financial knowledge. Disbursements of funds are not just the main thing.

Answer


All things you mentioned are within our purview. Being a student is not an impediment, all we are looking for are creative ideas.

Under ASBA, we have the mandate to ensure that Anambra State maintains the lead as the number one hub for Micro-enterprises and SMEs in Nigeria. To achieve this, we have to mentor, incubate and build the capacity of our entrepreneurs.

There are plans to set up Business Hubs; ASBA Academy and many TOTs. Our brethren who have the innovative ideas without formal education will be trained by ASBA and get certified. So, undergraduates and graduating persons are properly considered.

Note that Gov Willie Obiano has trained a lot of students at the College of Agriculture in Mgbakwu and ASBA is putting hands in it.

I invite everyone to contact us via our office, email or website

Question


ASBA is very good if the requirements are fashioned in a way that it will be easy for the candidates. Many people are very much interested but meeting the requirements is very hard. Getting a level 14 worker, traditional ruler or town PG to guarantee you by giving you a signed Cheque equivalent to the loan you applied for is not an easy stuff. To me, it is better to ask that person to give you the loan directly. Many candidates have shops but they don’t own the building to serve as collateral. How can you make this loan accessible for the poor business men/aspirers?

Answer


There is a distinction between grants and loans. Loans must be repaid and there must be guidelines to ensure that the funds are repaid. In our loans, we don’t allow Traditional Rulers and Religious Leaders to serve as guarantors because they are highly revered in our society.

This loan is not for “Father Christmas” and as such there must be collateral to ensure that it is repaid as at when due. At ASBA we encourage formation of Cooperatives such that those who don’t have collaterals can benefit from those who have the required collaterals.

Question


What is your office's contact email and mobile numbers?

Answer

You can contact ASBA via www.asba.ng or call 08061263067

Question


My questions are threefold: How many businesses have benefited from your facilities and what are their performances? What is your interest rate? I am a guarantor of a young man that applied for N300,000 loan through Ndiolu Micro Finance Bank. Inspite of the rigorous demand for all kinds of collateral, he's yet to get the loan two months after he applied. Why would it take so long?

Answer


We have done N1bn loan for SMEs. We were able to do over 200 companies. They are all doing well and will be present in the forthcoming ASBA Trade fair at Alex Ekwueme Square being proposed to hold in September, 2016. ASBA has through the provision of the required funds and advice resuscitated a lot of near moribund firms.

With the new N1bn loan for Micro-enterprises, we look out to have a minimum of 2,000 persons empowered.

As I said earlier, ASBA loans go for 9% interest rate per annum.

At ASBA, we have a culture of handling all requests on our table within 2 weeks maximum. If there are delays with the application at Ndiolu Micro-Finance Bank, it could be caused by delays in verifying the information and profiles provided by the applicant. Kindly link up with us, to find out why such delays.

Anambra Scorecard is the only online live programme which provides opportunity for the led to directly engage their leaders through the Facebook platform from anywhere in the world.

It is a weekly programme anchored on Anambra Square, the e-Village Square of Ndi Anambra on Facebook with Ifeanyi Aniagoh as the host.

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