The Deputy Chief of Party of the United States Agency for International Development Investment for Business Expansion (USAID/IBEX), Augustus Flomo, has disclosed that most Small Business Micro Enterprises (SMEs) in the country lack the capacities to access loans.
He said that because of this trend, his institution has embarked on creating the necessary environment to enable businesses develop to impact Liberia’s economy.
Mr. Flomo made the disclosure recently in Monrovia at a one-day stakeholders’ workshop on agriculture.
Deliberating on the topic, “SMEs Access to Finance in Liberia; Challenges, Opportunities,” Mr. Flomo said that many of the businesses in Liberia, particularly agri-businesses are still operating in an informal manner.
According to him, there is no financial institution that will want to transact business with SMEs, which are not standard in their activities.
“Business records and good leadership in managing businesses are very crucial to getting loan for the expansion of small businesses. No entrepreneur can convince the banking sector if these mechanisms conducive for making business with the commercial banks are not put into place,” he said.
He disclosed that IBEX has trained at least 200 SMEs in the country with basic financial management skills to enable them access loans.
Mr. Flomo added that among the 200 SMEs trained, about 15 of them have gotten opportunities to get money to improve their business ventures, adding that 90 percent belong to the agricultural sector.
He named the counties where SMEs have been approved for financing as Bong, Margibi and Montserrado counties.
Though, there are concerns by some Liberians that the country’s lacked more market opportunities, the deputy IBEX chief of party differed that there is indeed markets for the agricultural produce.
He said that there is need that entrepreneurs learnt to identify the market.
“We do have market for crops like pepper, bitter ball in Liberia. But instead of Liberians toping in such a business, people from neighboring countries are making money from such produce,” he mentioned.