By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
Osun State Governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola has restated the commitment of his administration to strengthen the micro economy of the state through robust Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs).
He stated this at the opening of a new branch of Access Bank Nigeria PLC at Ire, a polytechnic community in Boripe Local government area of Osun state.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Finance, Prince Bola Oyebamiji said his administration has been working assiduously to create conducive environment for investors in order to ban poverty among the populace.
Oyetola explained that the new branch of Access Bank in the community would go a long way in enhancing small business owners to boost their trades through credit facilities and deep business advice.
The governor however boasted that the state is safe for commercial banks to do business, adding that the issue of internal security remains a cardinal consideration of policy formation and implementation in the state.
According to him, “One of the greatest economic measures to finance the economy and empower the people is through Small and Medium enterprises, which access bank is doing presently in the state, in line with its aggressive branch network across Nigeria.
” What gives Osun a leverage on this is the utmost priority given to security for the purpose of entrenching factors for ease of doing business, in which security is integral”, Oyetola said.
In his remarks, the Executive Director of Access Bank, Mr Victor Etuokwu disclosed that the bank, in accordance with its branch network policy would open another twelve branches within the South West zone in the next two weeks.
Etuokwu maintained that the policy of the bank to spread branches in all the communities of Nigeria was rooted in the mindset that economy can not grow unless people are economically empowered.
He averred that one of the ways in which local populace could be economically empowered is through bringing retail banking of that nature to their doorstep to stimulate access to credit facilities and business guidance.
He explained that despite the inherent merit of internet banking, people still give priority to face to face banking engagement.
He said, “We believe that internet banking is good, but branch network is also a good place for banking engagement because people still consider the need to engage in face to face transaction”.
Speaking on the place of banking sector in the present state of Nigerian economy, Etuokwu opined that the sector needs to be adequately regulated for optimal performance.
He however commended the Buhari-led administration for what he termed effective monetary policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria to sanitise the banking industry and build people’s confidence in the sector.
The Executive director added that the sector remains a big supporter of government in the area of internal security.
He further commented on allegation of high interest rate being charged by Nigerian banks, saying ” interest rate is a function of so many factors, which include inflation, the forces of demand and supply, and productivity, so, it goes beyond the capacity of any financial institution to control.