The Bank of Industry (BoI) has reduced its interest rates for corp members under its Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) programme, to zero per cent interest charge from 9%, as part of measures to encourage entrepreneurship and aid business growth.
Â According to the BOI, the GEF scheme being implemented by it in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Directorate is currently on the second edition and has recorded over N262.9 million disbursements to 177 successful candidates.
The bank said the zero per cent interest charge took effect from May 1, 2017.
It said existing GEF loans and those to be disbursed from 1st of May 2017, would require repayment of only the principal amounts, while the177 candidates that had been financed under the scheme would be required to pay loan interest that accrued up to 30th April, 2017.
As at March 31, 2017, the bank had approved N583.8 million for disbursements for entrepreneurs under the scheme.
The bank explained thatÂ it was motivated by the larger part of the177 candidates who have exhibited strong dedication to their businesses and have demonstrated unusual commitment to repayment of their loans including the 9per cent interest portion.
With the first disbursements already creating impact in the agriculture value chain and creative industry, the bank said N46.98 million is expected to be disbursed to the remaining 28 successful candidates who are in the various stages of complying with the loan requirements.
Â â€œThe Bank of industry is highly delighted in the outcome of its investment in these young Nigerians. The Bank firmly believes that entrepreneurship is a critical pathway to resolving the worrisome unemployment problem in the country. Hence, the Bank desires to ensure the businesses that have been created through the GEF programme remain sustainable with progressive migration from small businesses to medium and eventually to large enterprises.
Â â€œIt is believed that that this gesture will further attract young Nigerians that are undergoing their one-year compulsory National youth service to embrace entrepreneurship by participating in the GEF programme.
Â â€œIt is pertinent to reiterate that the zero per cent interest charge on loans only applies only to the GEF programme which is implemented in partnership with NYSC Directorate”, the bank added.