BOI Disburses N3.1bn  Funds to Micro Entrepreneurs


By Crusoe Osagie
The Bank of Industry (BOI) has disbursed over N3.1 billion for on-lending to micro entrepreneurs under its Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) programme, a scheme the development finance institution (DFI) said is essentially aimed at poverty reduction through job and wealth creation focusing on the rural micro-enterprise operators with a view to extending financial inclusion in the country.
The acting Managing Director, BOI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju,  said the scheme is designed to leverage on the spread and penetration of participating financial institutions in all parts of the country to stimulate economic activity within the critical mass at the bottom of the pyramid
Olagunju during the cheque presentation ceremony to BOP on-lending loan beneficiaries, a partnership with renowned microfinance banks for credit delivery to microenterprises, pointed out that the BOP aligns with the employment and wealth creation objectives of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) of the federal government.
“BOI is currently in partnership with 11 microfinance banks under the BOP scheme to which  the sum of N1.1 billion had earlier been disbursed. The inclusion of LAPO microfinance bank N1 billion, Fortis microfinance bank N500 million and Lotus Capital N500 million will bring the number of such partnerships to 14,” he said.
According to him, the scheme will enable the DFI to deepen its developmental lending activities by utilising the services of other tested financial institutions to deliver credit to the under-served and under-banked at the bottom of the pyramid.
He noted that the programme will further enable BOI achieve its core mandate of industrialisation by providing finance for the economically active and the financially excluded micro-entrepreneurs.
In his words: “By partnering with these microfinance banks, we will be able to focus more on the funding of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). We have also decided to work with them because lending to micro enterprises requires special skills that they have acquired.”
He added that BOP model is consistent with the operating models of some of the world’s best DFIs that deliver their services indirectly through intermediary retail finance that have extensive branch networks in the country.
The Managing Director, Lotus Capital, Mrs. Hajara Adeola, expressed delight to be a partner in the BOP programme, stressing that Lotus Capital aligns with BOI’s objectives of financial inclusion.
She said the microfinance bank offers a unique and specific alternative mechanism for providing finance to financially excluded micro-entrepreneurs.
“We are very grateful to the BOI for extending credit to BOP and those who do not have the access to financial services to grow and to lift Nigeria out of the recession. We are very delighted. We provide non-interest finance and our mission is to redeploy the non-interest mechanism to those who require it to expand the economic activities of our great nation. I am grateful to BOI for including us on this exciting journey of being part of the economic revival of our great nation,” she said.
On his part, the Managing Director, LAPO Microfinance Bank, Mr. Godwin  Ehigiamusoe, said the envision economic revitalisation can only take place if Nigeria effectively engage a large number of Nigerians at the bottom edge of the society, saying that to achieve this would require finance .
“The essence of this partnership between the BOI and these microfinance banks is to be able to extend financial services that are really critical to enhancing the productivity of this segment of the society in order for them to make contributions to our national economy,” he said.