TO fast-track industrialisation through entrepreneurship and create jobs, the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Ebonyi State Government have signed a N4 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote agriculture and establish industries in the state.
The signing, which took place at the Ebonyi State Government House, in Abakaliki on Monday, will usher in economic boom for the state, which targets to set up at least one industry in each of its 150 communities under the dispensation of the N4 billion Fund.
Governor Dave Umahi praised BoI for supporting the state’s economic growth initiative with 50 per cent of the Fund. He stressed that the bank was, indeed, not out to make money, but to foster development.
The governor added that empowerment programmes have been proven to be more impacting when anchored with BoI, which has competent personnel and an effective coordinating strategy.
He said: “Free money is not productive when it is not worked for, and the way to go about empowerment is what we have done today with the BoI, which has made tremendous impact in recent times.
If this is enacted across the 36 states of Nigeria, it will lead to job creation on a massive scale.” The governor added that the initiative was Nigeria’s solution to the economic recession currently plaguing the country following the crash of global oil prices.Governor Umahi explained that N2billion under the initiative will be dedicated to the agric sector, while the other N2billion will go to the industrial sector.
He said beneficiaries of short-term loans will be charged five per cent, while long-term beneficiaries will pay back with a 6.25 per cent.Umahi charged his cabinet members to drive awareness of the intervention fund across their constituencies and encourage would-be beneficiaries to set up cooperative societies to enable them access the fund and attend entrepreneurship capacity building workshops to be hosted by BoI.
Earlier in his remarks, the Managing Director of BoI, Mr. Kayode Pitan, noted that the bank has been involved in supporting entrepreneurs in the growth of large and small scale industries in the state before now in excess of N2billion.”With this, we will now be able to help more people to get employed as well as enhance the growth of the solid minerals sector as the governor has also requested,” he said.
He added that the development finance institution was ready to finance more projects beyond the scope of the MoU.”We are partners with the state and are happy that this MoU has further strengthened that partnership,” he said.Some of the projects financed by BoI include Ebony Agro Industries, Crystal Chemical Nigeria Limited, Hapelroadstone Nigeria Limited as well as Maxdove Foam and Chemical Industries Limited.
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