Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of Standard Bank Group, has called on small and medium scale enterprises in the country to tap into the power sector reforms for business growth.
The Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, made the call at the 7th Lagos State Economic Summit where she was a panelist at one of the sessions on power sector funding.
According to David-Borha, “The power sector reforms have presented a huge opportunity for start-ups and small and medium scale enterprises to explore for growth.
There is a supply and infrastructure gap in the power sector that small business owners can plug to their benefit.
For instance, the distribution and generation companies would need metres, cables, electricity poles, payment cards, among others, which can be readily handled by small businesses.”
She said government’s determination to ensure the success of the privatisation process in the power sector and the local content policy, which ensures local businesses are not overlooked, are positive pointers to encourage investment in the sector.
David-Borha said the reforms and the enormous growth opportunity in the sector make it easier for financial institutions, including Stanbic IBTC, to finance SMEs involved in the power sector.
“I am hopeful that even when there are challenges in the power sector, the government will step in to address whatever needs to be done because there is so much at stake to allow the sector to fail,” she said.
On the question of how to get the right partnerships and funding for the power sector, David-Borha said smart pricing is critical to the power sector transformation.
“There have been calls for right pricing, but I would add that with smart pricing, everything will fall into place,” she said.
The panelists, who included the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Ayo Gbeleyi, agreed that pricing could be done in a smart way to take care of all levels of consumers without overburdening consumers with high energy tariffs.
The Stanbic IBTC boss said her bank will continue to leverage on the rich heritage and know-how of the Standard Bank Group to support the reforms and the sector by providing both debt and equity in the right balance and by attracting foreign investors into the country.