The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has signed an agreement with Sterling Bank to provide a total of five billion naira in loans to small businesses across the country. The loan facility offers a single-digit interest rate of 9%, making it one of the most appealing credit options for Nigeria’s NSMEs.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was officially signed on Wednesday, November 22, at the SMEDAN Corporate Headquarters in Idu, Abuja. Mr. Charles Odii, the Director-General of SMEDAN, and Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, the Managing Director/CEO of Sterling Bank, executed the agreement.

To access the loan, small businesses must register with SMEDAN and complete an application form by logging on to, following which the bank will process the application for disbursement. This opportunity is available nationwide to small businesses across all sectors, with loan options ranging from ₦250,000 to ₦2,500,000.

This initiative marks a significant stride in fulfilling Mr. Charles Odii’s commitment to fostering prosperity by facilitating the growth of small businesses through enhanced financial access. The move is pivotal, considering the crucial role SMEs play in revitalising the Nigerian economy, and it strongly aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda, which focuses on growth-oriented economic reforms and support.

It follows an agreement struck with the Anambra State government by the Odii-led SMEDAN to provide a 1 billion naira loan portfolio for small businesses in the state. Earlier, the Director-General assured of his plans to announce more partnerships with other state governments and private actors in pursuit of the goal to enhance finance access to small businesses. The ₦5 billion agreement with Sterling Bank represents a key demonstration and fulfilment of the pledge.

Speaking at the signing event, DG Charles Odii described it as “an important milestone in our efforts to stimulate economic growth and drive prosperity by enhancing SME access to finance. We believe that the financial support, which comes at a very competitive rate, will help SMEs expand operations, hire additional employees, and contribute to an overall upswing in beneficial trade and economic activities.”

The ₦5 billion loan agreement with Sterling Bank has a duration period of 24 months, and repayment will commence after a minimum period of three months, enabling small businesses to fully leverage the facility. Application for the loan through the portal [] has commenced and disbursement is expected to begin in two weeks.

On his part, the MD of Sterling Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, said the partnership with SMEDAN was done to provide prompt access to finance for small businesses and guide them through a formalisation process crucial for sustainability and access to funds. This includes record-keeping, separation of personal from business finances, and investment in competitive strategies to stand out and succeed.