Taraba State government and Bank of Industry, BoI yesterday signed N700million memorandum of understanding, MoU for the establishment of a micro, small and medium scale enterprises, MSMEs Development Fund.
The business and development fund, for which the state government and the bank had contributed N350million each, was meant for indigenous entrepreneurs engaged in or willing to establish MSMEs in the state.
Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku and the managing director of BoI, Mr. Rasheed Adejare Olaoluwa signed the agreement at a brief ceremony held in Abuja.
In his keynote address, the governor noted that “this MoU just executed would serve as a catalyst to the industrialization process of the state which this administration is committed to achieve”.
He disclosed that the state government’s N350million contribution to the fund was released to BoI in April 2014, urging the bank to commence the process of disbursing the loan to the people of Taraba.
Ishaku, who noted that the loan would enhance capacity building of the people as well as reduce unemployment and poverty among them, pointed out that the state was richly endowed with vast fertile land and other natural resources.
According to him, majority of the people live in abject poverty due to lack of entrepreneurship and business development knowledge, and affirmed that “if these resources are properly harnessed, the state could be poised for a promising future”.
Speaking in the same vein, Olaoluwa said the MoU would foster industrial development of the state and promote inclusive growth through job and wealth creation.
The managing director, who said Taraba was the second state in the North –East geo-political zone to partner with BoI on its state’ matching fund scheme, noted that the state is renowned for its agrarian nature and rich alluvial soil which made it abundantly endowed in agricultural products as well as large untapped solid mineral deposits.
He further explained, “In our quest to promote inclusive growth, BoI has embarked on the identification of thriving real sector SME clutches in all parts of the country”, disclosing that the strategy that will be adopted in the administration of the Matching Fund in Taraba State is to finance projects in the identified agricultural and solid mineral clusters.
These, Olaoluwa listed included the Mambilla Plateau for tea and coffee, Jalingo for rice, Wukari for cassava, Gebu for dairy products, Sardauna for kaolin as well as Ibi for barylites.
The managing director also informed that BoI has since approved N299.4million loans to 18 enterprises in the state, which are all engaged in agro processing, adding that 135 direct and 400 indirect jobs have been created by the enterprises that have drawn down on their loans.