BoI, Benue government seal N2bn MSMEs financing deal

Bank of Industry, Headquaters, Abuja

Bank of Industry, Headquaters, Abuja

The Bank of Industry (Bol) has co-launched a N2 billion Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) development fund with the Benue State government.

Under the financing model, BoI will contribute N1billon which will in turn be matched in equal sum by the Benue State Government for on-lending to mainly businesses that have high employment generating potential and value addition to local raw materials.

The signing of the agreement which took place at the capital city of Benue State, Makurdi, brought the volume of MSME Funds being managed on behalf of 21 state governments to N18.3 billion.

Four out of the 21 states that had enrolled in the scheme, joined in the last eight months when Waheed Olagunju took over the headship of the bank in acting capacity.

Speaking shortly after sealing the deal, Olagunju said the fund would help entrepreneurs in the state add values to their agricultural produce and also boost employment generation potential of the state.

He advised entrepreneurs to invest in the agricultural value chain which the state has comparative advantage.The BoI boss also urged the governor to create industrial parks where beneficiaries of the loans would be able to leverage on infrastructure facilities to reduce operation cost.

On the significance of the parks, Olagunju added,” I suggest the governor establish industrial parks, at least, one in each senatorial district where amenities will be provided and where other infrastructure will be provided. They will share the facilities.

“Where that happens, it will reduce their start-up cost and operating expenses. It will increase their viability prospect. They will share knowledge, experience and there be synergy. Apart from that, operating in industrial parks also makes credit administration easier because financial institutions would readily be able to locate them.

Olagunju, however, advised the governor to adopt the Kaduna State model, where only the people who had gone through capacity development programme and in the process, came up with viable business proposal, were eligible to get loans under the scheme.

He also noted that while 21 states had been enlisted in the scheme, discussions with the remaining 15 states had reached advanced stage.In his remarks, Benue State governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom saluted the current leadership of BoI, and in particular, the acting MD Waheed Olagunju, whom he described as a go-getter.

He urged President Mohammadu Buhari to appoint him substantive MD, stressing that having worked in the bank for over two decades, he was abundantly qualified to lead the DFI.

Ortom also called on entrepreneurs in the state to take advantage of the loan facilities, insisting that it would not be disbursed along party lines.

According to him, only those who have viable business proposals in the areas where the state has comparative advantage, would be given the loans.

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BoIWaheed Olagunju
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