Niger entrepreneurs get N497m from BOI

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By Ndubuisi Ajah, Abuja

Entrepreneurs in Niger state have benefitted N497 million credit from the Bank of Industry under the industrial bank’s its Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Fund (MSME),  Rasheed Olaoluwa, the Managing Director, has said.

BoI and Niger State Government in June 2009 executed a memorandum of understanding to set up an MSME Development Fund in the sum of N1Billion for the provision of financial assistance for MSMEs in Niger state. Niger state being the first of the 19 Northern states to partner the development institution under the state’s Matching Fund Programme (MFP), has so far released N300 million as part of its contribution which was matched in equal amount by the BoI

Beside the BoI counterpart fund, the bank had also disbursed over N225 million direct loans to enterprises in the State.

The credit was in addition to N44million for the deployment of off-grid micro system in Bisanti, a community in the state which OlaOluwa said were efforts to harness the potential in the state and grow it to an industrial scale.

Another effort of the BoI is the categorization into SME clusters in areas such as Shea Butter, Yam, Soya Bean, Rice, Sugar Cane, Melon, Fish, Groundnut and Cassava.

The bank which has also assisted in the deployment of the solar based technology in the state is to help provide energy need for the industry, particularly the segment that has no access to the national grid.

The BOI boss stated that the objective of the interventions of the bank in the state was to promote job creation and rapid industrialisation.

The bank CEO also 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 the  State, Olaoluwa noted that while the bank received 263 loan applications amounting to N2.5 billion, 116 loans totaling N497.0 million were approved.

“In terms of developmental impact, he further noted, “an estimated 615 direct and 683 indirect jobs totaling 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 Sheanut, Soya Bean, Groundnut, Yam, Cassava, Rice, Cotton, 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.”

Giving testimonial, a beneficiary, John Akanya commended the bank and noted that he ventured into bread production to show to his people how standards help to promote businesses.

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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