Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, BoI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, has explained that the deployment of the solar-based technology in Niger State by the bank would help to provide energy need for industrial growth particularly the segment that has no access to the national grid.
Olaoluwa stressed that objective of the interventions of the bank in the state was to promote job creation and rapid industrialisation.
He also disclosed that not less than N497 million loan has so far been disbursed to entrepreneurs in the state by BoI under its Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Fund, MSME, adding that the bank had on its own, disbursed direct loans in excess of N225 million to enterprises in the state.
Olaoluwa, while commissioning the BoI’s Niger State office in Minna, the state capital, stated that the gesture was to enable entrepreneurs harness the potential in the state to industrial scale.
He also explained that apart from approving N44 million for the deployment of off-grid micro system in Bisanti, a community in the state, the bank had identified SME clusters in areas such as Shea butter, yam, soya bean, rice, sugar cane, melon, fish, groundnut and cassava.
The bank chief executive officer therefore urged the state entrepreneurs to avail themselves with the services of the 23 Business Development Service Providers established in the North Central geopolitical zones for the packaging of bankable business proposals.
Given update on the MSME fund, which is jointly funded by the development finance institution and Niger State, Olaoluwa noted that while the bank received 263 loan applications amounting to N2.5 billion, 116 loans totalling N497.0 million were approved.
“In terms of developmental impact, he further noted, “an estimated 615 direct and 683 indirect jobs totalling 1,298 jobs have been created thus far.”
Speaking on the economic potential of the state, “The most valued assets of Niger State are its fertile land and water resources, being largely an agrarian State with agricultural products like shea nut, soya bean, groundnut, yam, cassava, rice, cotton and sesame seed, among others.
“The state is also blessed with mineral resources such as Gold, Copper, Iron, Silica, Clay, Marble, Talc, Feldspar, Lead, Kaolin, Cassiterite, Mica and Granite. Niger State therefore has a great potential to support a wide range of agro-processing and other industries that can spur sustainable industrialisation and accelerated Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise, MSME development.”
Also speaking, one of the loan beneficiaries, Dr. John Akanya stated that he ventured into bread production in order to show to his people how standards help to promote businesses.
Akanya, who is the immediate past Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, commended the bank for the transparent ways in which loan application is being process.
Mr. Oledibe Chidebere, who spoke on behalf Microcredit Beneficiaries in Niger State, stated that apart from provision of loans, entrepreneurs in the state had learnt a great deal on how to manage their businesses through the numerous seminars organised by the bank.
He said, “BoI has developed us both mentally and physically to meet up with the challenges that come on our way during the course of our businesses. Our educational and business orientation has changed based on the interaction, seminars and workshops organised by the bank.”

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