Opportunity Bank Malawi launches innovative product for SMEs

Opportunity Bank Malawi (OIBM) has launched a special financial service package, SME Banking, to cater specially for Malawi’s Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in a drive to uplift upcoming business entrepreneurs.

OIBM SME consultant Ben Muchina

OIBM SME consultant Ben Muchina

A cross-section of the entreprenuers

A cross-section of the entreprenuers

OIBM Group photograph

OIBM Group photograph

The special package, that was established  in November, was officially launched on Thursday, 8th December 2016 at Malawi Sun Hotel’s Conference Centre in Blantyre.

In order for the SMEs to appreciate this new development, OIBM courted the office of the Registrar General, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and international auditors KPMG’s Advisory Services Limited to the workshop that was positively attended by the entrepreneurs.

In his opening remarks, OIBM’s SME Consultant Ben Muchina said SMEs play an important role as they support the growth and development of a country’s economy.

“But SMEs don’t have the right security to access loans from financial service providers and that why OIBM comes in with this product to assist SMEs access loans with minimum surety,” Muchina said.

“For instance, if the SME’s would want to access loans in order to buy equipment that would uplift their businesses, OIBM will be using the same equipment that would be bought as surety. We would also be offering overdrafts for their swift operations.

“OIBM is happy to work with SMEs because they play a significant role in the creation of employment and help in the development of the economy. For them to achieve that, they need the support of the financial service providers,” Muchina said.

Before proceeding with his presentation entitled ‘Facilitating the Formation of SMEs Business Registration Services’, Principal Registrar General Chifwayi Chirambo said it was important that SMEs should get legally registered for them to access loans from banks.

He said despite some survey that has been done that there are over a million SMEs in existence, the Registrar General’s Department only have a record of 195,000 registered and that some of those are not even operating.

He went through with the participants of the new innovation from the Registrar General’s Department of an online business registration service, the Malawi Business Registration System (MBRS), whose user friendly online portal is mbrs.registrargeneral.gov.mw.

From this portal, the public can have their business registered, reserve their preferred business names, make amendments, file annual returns, cessation of business and renew their business registration at the expiry of three years.

He also said the Registrar General is in the process of creating branches throughout all districts using government business centres as opposed to the current scenario of just having three regional offices in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

On its part, MRA appraised the participants for the need to be registered both with MRA because the law requires every business to do so. They went through on what is required to acquire all necessary registration needs and other benefits attached to it in terms of tax refunds and other services.

Auditors KPMG went through on how the SMEs can grow their portfolios and on how they need to develop deep knowledge in business financials.

Later, Muchina and OIBM’s Head of Retail Banking Howard Bowa asked the SMEs to visit the bank’s branches to hear more as well as to engage the Registrar General, the MRA and KPMG’s Advisory Services Ltd if they want their business to grow.

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