Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has announced that over 28 other businesses in Nigeria had been granted N1.5billion from its own direct funds.
Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, disclosed this yesterday, while presenting N362million cheque to the first batch of the beneficiaries of the N2billion-micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), development fund in Benue State.
Benue State and the Development Finance Institution (DFI) had last year signed a pact on the N2billion matching fund to boost the entrepreneurial potentials of citizens in the state.
Under the financing model, both parties made commitment to contribute N1billion each for on lending to mainly businesses that have high employment generating potential and value addition to local raw materials.
Pitan stated that the 38 loans beneficiaries were those, who met the bank’s pre-disbursement conditions.
While noting that matching fund was capable of developing small and medium scale enterprises in the state, he urged other businesses in the state to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the scheme.
As part of the moves to ensure effective utilisation of the loans, the BoI boss added that a two-week entrepreneurship training would be organised to build the capacity of the beneficiaries.
“The partnership with the Benue State Government goes beyond providing loans. As part of the package, all beneficiaries will undergo two weeks entrepreneurship training to help their capacity to manage these businesses successfully,” he said.
He, however, warned the beneficiaries against deploying the fund to areas not envisaged by the scheme, stressing that “we like to remind them to take seriously their obligations to repay the loans so that others can benefit.
While also giving details on the involvement of the bank in other schemes aimed at developing economic activities in the state, the MD stated that the bank had granted loans of over N1.5 billion to businesses across sectors such as food processing, fruit juice processing, piggery, yam/cassava flour, rice processing, fashion designing, and quarries/solid minerals.
According to him, Under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), which is principally created for framers, traders and artisans, the bank had also disbursed a total of N255million to 5100 beneficiaries across the state.
Also speaking at the event, the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Benson Abono commended the bank for its efforts at developing small businesses in the state.
According to him, â€œI 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.â€
Charging the beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunities, the deputy governor said the first set of recipient ‘would make us proud.’
He added: “It is unfortunate that in the past, the blood of business is not running in our veins. But the time is now for us to join the business world. All the business moguls around the world borrow money to do business. It is what you do with the money that determines the success or otherwise of a business.
“You should not shy away from borrowing. Never see it as part of the national cake. Nothing like bad loan again. If you take it and u don’t pay back, the long land of the law will catch up with you.”