BANK OF Industry, BoI,
yesterday said it would disburse
at least N310 billion in loans to
Small and Medium Enterprises,
SMEs, between 2016 and 2019 and
thus reduce unemployment to a
single digit.
Mr Waheed Olagunju, the
Acting Director-General of the
bank, disclosed this at a ceremony
to mark the appointment of new
internal auditors and accountants
for the bank in Lagos.
Olagunju said that the aim
of the loans was to support
the government’s efforts at
empowering SMEs in the country.
“As we all know, SMEs are the
engine of the economy and we
have been working to support the
government’s efforts at up scaling
their capacity.
“To crash the rate of
unemployment from the 25 per
cent rate to a single digit, the
SMEs and manufacturing sector
need to be involved.
“The only issue we have been
having with SMEs is that they
keep saying that BoI does not
disburse to them, but the truth
is that banks need track record
and character to disburse loans to
enterprises.
“The major challenge of SMEs is
not loan because asking for a loan
at the very beginning of your micro
business is not the best way to go.
“It is better to start from
somewhere with assistance from
friends and family; from there
your track record and character
can be monitored even by the
business owner himself,’’ he said.
According to Olagunju, BoI has
established nine more offices, five
digital ICT products and raised its
Business Development Support
Providers, BDSPs, to 200.
He said with the SME Website,
SMEs could use the accounting
applications, even from their
phones or laptops without having
to come over to any of the offices.
He said the BDSPs were there
for a token to write proposals,
application guides and all that
small entrepreneurs would find
difficult to present while applying
for a loan.
“As a means of sustaining
the tempo, we are looking to
disbursing at least N310 billion to
SMEs within the next 4 years.
“With a single digit interest rate
and a 95 per cent performing risk
asset, it’s not going to be easy.
“But this is the same attitude
we want for the change we want
to see in Nigeria, especially in the
non-oil sector,” Olagunju said.
He also urged Nigerians to
patronise made-in-Nigeria
products just like other developing
economies were doing.
Olagunju said that it was
because of one of these reasons the
BoI patronised made-in-Nigeria
buses and encouraged wearing of
traditional attires in its dress code.
While speaking on the sidelines
of the event, Mr Rasak Jaiyeola, the
Deputy Vice President, Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Nigeria,
ICAN, said that accountants were
involved in the scheme to assist
BoI to achieve its loan targets.
Jaiyeola said that the accountants
and auditors would work with
BoI to reduce its non-performing
loans from 4.1 per cent last year to
zero in 2016. NAN


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