16 July 2014

Nigeria: BOI Will Scale Up Financial Assistance to SMEs - Abdulsamad

The new chairman, Board of Directors of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, has assured the federal government of the bank's readiness to review its current credit portfolio to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country which at the moment was very low.

Alhaji Rabiu made this pledge while responding to a directive by the minister of industry, trade and investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, during the inauguration of the new BoI board yesterday in Abuja.

Aganga had noted that the current practice where 15 per cent of loanable funds were set aside to assist viable MSMEs in the country was no longer acceptable, hence the need for it to carry out an upward review of the loanable funds in a manner that would enable the sector to create more jobs and generate wealth.

He also advised the board to adopt the practice in China and Indonesia where a significant portion of loanable funds without collateral was extended to MSMEs, adding that of the amount given to MSMEs in these countries, about 97 per cent of such loans were repaid.

The minister further directed the board to forward a quarterly progress report of the bank's activities to the ministry, containing analysis of loan book by sector, impact of the bank on the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), jobs created and contribution to national development.

But Rabiu, who assured the minister of the cooperation of the board in carrying out his directives, said the development of an animated private sector in which small and medium enterprises could play a central role had become imperative. Hence, the board would ensure that the bank formulated good policies that would encourage MSMEs growth.

He described NIRP as the most ambitious and comprehensive road map that would transform the nation's industrial landscape, boost skills development, enhance job creation and conserve foreign exchange, adding that the BOI was ready to contribute its quota to the realisation of the goals and objectives of the NIRP.

Managing director of the bank, Rasheed Olaoluwa, also revealed that the bank was resolved in its bid to actualise its mandate and was developing strategies to improve MSMEs access to funds, including opening more offices in many states of the federation.

According to him, the bank was exploring alternative modes of funding such as continuation of sector specific intervention funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Agriculture, Solid Minerals and others.

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