BoI Earmarks N10bn at Single Digit for SMEs in Agric


By James Emejo in Abuja

The Bank of Industry (BoI) has signed a deal with three international development partners for  the development of the country’s agricultural sector.
The pact with GIZ and DFID will aid lending of up to N10 billion to small and medium enterprises in the agricultural sector.

Speaking at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU)  in Abuja, acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju said the agreement was a testimony to the bank’s support to the development of the agriculture sector.
According to him, the bank’s passion for the sector was borne out of the conviction that it holds the key to the diversification of the nation’s economy at a time of dwindling oil revenue.
He said based on the agreement, the bank would provide up to N10 billion exclusively for the acquisition of agro-equipment by either agricultural service providers or well established farmers.

According to him, the latest intervention to the sector was the largest the bank had earmarked for any product programme, noting that based on the pact, the amount would be repaid within a five year period by beneficiaries at a nine per cent interest rate.
He said based on the agreement, micro enterprises would be able to access up to N10 million; while SMEs would access between N10 million and N50 million while medium scale entrepreneurs could access above N50 million but not exceeding N500 million.

Olagunju added: “In recognition of the catalytic role that agro-processing plays in boosting good production, BoI in collaboration with development partners have designed a program to provide finance for agro-equipment service providers and well established farmers as well.
“It is envisaged that with better access to credit to fund acquisition of agro-equipment, there will be improved efficiency and production output in the agricultural sector.
“A N10 billion fund has been earmarked for the acquisition of agro equipment and it is the largest amount of money that the bank has earmarked for any program and this is a testimony to the importance of agro mechanization  in economic development of Nigeria.”

He said the programme will enable the bank create 10,000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs within the targeted period.