Jonathan Eze in Cairo
The Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BoI), Olukayode Pitan, has disclosed that the partnership between the Bank and some state governments have enhanced lending to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country to the tune of over N20 billion in 2018.
Speaking with THISDAY in an interview in Cairo, Egypt, Pitan stated that, “BoI on its own has partnership arrangements with states and we call it matching funds whereby whatever amount of money the state gives to us, we match it with the same amount of money, and this funds are disbursed in the same state.
“Our matching funds are over N20 billion in terms of people that we have reached. We have reached over one million Nigerians in one way or the other this year.
“Matching funds is a product that we put together to encourage the states to be able to lend to small enterprises, for instance, we have in Kaduna, we have in Kano, and we have in different states.
“What we did is that we went to Kaduna State and tell them, if you give us (BOI) one billion naira, we will put one billion naira down, so, your one billion naira becomes two billion.”
He added: “So we are putting our money where our mouth is, so we are also spending the bank’s money to ensure that SMES are encouraged by getting the financing that they require.”
On the ongoing trade fair, the BoI boss said the Bank sponsored over 50 companies to showcase their products. “This trade fair is the first of its kind in Africa, and we know it is very important, so we went out of our way to engage our customers –SMEs.
“So, we brought at least 50 companies at various levels of support, they were very small and they got close to 100 per cent sponsorship.
“So, essentially, we must encourage and support them, so all together we are supporting 100 Nigerian companies for the trade fair “.
On his part, The NEPC boss, Segun Awolowo, commended the African Export-Import Bank and the African Union (AU) for organising the trade fair.
According to him, it will provide an opportunity for the promotion and trade of commercial activities between Nigeria and the rest of the African Continent as well as strengthen existing economic and diplomatic ties within Africa.