BoI set to disburse N700 million to MSMEs in Taraba



AS parts of its drive to partner with state governments to promote inclusive growth across Nigeria, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has entered into an agreement with Taraba State government to disburse the sum of N700 million to Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the state under its matching fund scheme.

The fund is expected to specifically assist the agro-processing cottage industries in the state to improve on existing businesses while creating new ones all in the bid to create employment and improve the lot of the people.

The project, which is a counterpart-funding between the bank and Taraba State government was initiated in 2014 to grow SMEs in the state. The state has however concretised its part of the agreement by making the deposit of N350 million to the Bank, a move that had culminated into the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties while the bank is expected to contribute another N350 million to the project.

At the signing of the MoU in Abuja, the Managing Director of the bank, Rasheed Olaoluwa, explained that the bank would embark on all powers at its disposal to ensure that SMEs in all the states of the federation are developed to a level where the economy of Nigeria can conveniently be hinged on SMEs.

He said the bank has been able to discover specific areas where individual states across the country has comparative advantage in their untapped natural endowments through the SME clusters it embarked on across the states, adding that the idea was to develop the resources in the states to a level where individual states can conveniently generate its own revenue and create wealth for its people.

His words: “In May 2014, the Taraba State government contributed the sum of N350 million which had been matched in like some by the BoI for the establishment of the N700 million micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development fund. This poll of fund shall be used to provide loans to MSMEs in Taraba State. In this regard, Taraba State has emerged the second state in the North-East political zone of Nigeria to partner with the BoI under our state matching fund scheme.”

Reeling out the areas where Taraba State has comparative advantages, Olaoluwa said the state has no excuse than to leverage on the opportunities the bank will avail it with the component of the MoU to lift its people out of poverty and lack.

“Taraba State is renowned for its agrarian nature and rich alluvial soil which makes it abundantly endowed in agricultural products like yam, both Irish and sweet potatoes, cassava, rice, groundnut, sorghum, millet, soya beans, sesame seeds, tea and coffee. Its lush grassland favoured large scale livestock production while its various rivers and ponds support aqua culture. The state also has large untapped solid mineral deposit such as barites, tin ore and kaolin to mention but a few. The state is therefore a very good stage to embark in what we call commodity-based industrialisation, a concept that has been recommended by the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Africa in its 2013 ECA report”, he said.

The BoI boss said this would not be the first time the bank would engage Taraba State as it had in the past given out loans to SMEs in the state which has resulted in creation of both direct and indirect jobs for the people.

“BoI has already approved loans totalling N299.4 million to 18 enterprises in Taraba State and they are all engaged in agro processing. A total of 135 direct and an estimated 400 indirect jobs have been created by the enterprises that have keyed on their loans. I would like to state that BoI partnership with Taraba State shall not be limited to financial intervention alone. Our mission statement is to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector by providing financial and business support services to enterprises. In this regard, the bank in November 2014 accredited a total of 122 Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs), 28 of which have a national coverage, while five of them specifically cover the North-East geo-political zone of the country. They are to assist entrepreneurs packaging bankable loan proposals that have a high probability of loan approval. The BDSPs will also provide post finance services such as capacity building and mentorship for the entrepreneurs for the objective of ensuring that businesses not only grow but are also sustainable. To this end, BoI negotiated reasonable token fees to be charged by the BDSPs.”

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