Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja
The Bank of Industry on Wednesday presented N362m cheque to the first batch of the beneficiaries of the N2bn-Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises, Development Fund in Benue State.
Benue State and BoI had last year signed a pact on the N2bn matching fund to boost the entrepreneurial potential of people in the state.
Under the financing model, both parties gave commitment to contribute N1bn each for on lending to mainly businesses that have high employment-generating potential and value addition to local raw materials.
This is even as the bank announced that over 28 other businesses had been granted N1.5bn from its own direct funds.
Speaking during the cheque presentation, the bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, stated that the 38 loans beneficiaries were those who met the bank’s pre-disbursement conditions.
Saying that the matching fund was capable of developing small and medium scale enterprises in the state, Pitan urged other businesses in the state to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the scheme.
As part of the moves to ensure effective utilisation of the loans, the BoI boss added that a two-week entrepreneurship training programme would be organised to build the capacity of the beneficiaries.
He said, “The partnership with the Benue State government goes beyond providing loans. As part of the package, all beneficiaries will undergo two weeks entrepreneurship training to help their capacity to manage these businesses successfully.”
He, however, warned the beneficiaries against deploying the fund to areas not envisaged by the scheme.
“We like to remind them to take seriously their obligations to repay the loans so that others can benefit,” he added.
The BoI MD stated that the bank had granted loans of over N1.5bn to businesses across sectors such as food processing, fruit juice processing, piggery, yam/cassava flour, rice processing, fashion designing, and quarries/solid minerals.
He said under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, which is principally created for framers, traders and artisans, the bank had also disbursed a total of N255m to 5,100 beneficiaries across the state.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.