…disburses N1.6billion to 25 entrepreneurs in Sokoto
Chris Steven, Abuja
The Bank of Industry (BOI) and Sokoto State government have established a N2billion matching fund for on lending to the micro small, medium entrepreneurs in Sokoto state.
The MSME fund deal was sealed between BOI and the Sokoto State Government yesterday in Sokoto, Sokoto state.
Earlier in the day, during the commissioning of BOI’s office in Sokoto, the Acting Managing Director of the bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju disclosed that BOI had so far disbursed about N1.6billion to 25 industrialists in the state.
Speaking during the MoU signing, the BOI helmsman, Olagunju, said the state would be required to provide N1billion which would be matched in like sum by the bank for on lending to entrepreneurs in the state.
He hinted that apart from Sokoto, the bank is already having a subsisting matching funds arrangement deal with 18 state governments across Nigeria.
Olagunju noted that the bank came up with the finance model because the bank could not single handedly finance industries in the country without collaboration with the states who are the custodians of lands.
He challenged entrepreneurs in the state to come up with viable business plans, adding that once they are bankable, the bank would finance them.
Explaining the rationale behind the partnership with the state government, Olagunju said: “Entrepreneurs are located in the states. They must have a piece of land before they can do business and under the Land Use Act, land is vested in the governors. That makes partnership with the state governments an indisputable part of our business.”
He added that the state office of the bank had identified seven clusters in the state that would be accorded priority financial support.
Some of the clusters, according to him, include: groundnut oil. animal feeds, leather products, rice processing, food processing, quarries and meat processing.
In particular, the BoI boss noted that the bank would give funding priority to the state’s leather industry where it has competitive advantage.
Responding, the Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, expressed delight at the establishment of the bank’s office in his state, stressing that the proximity to customers would boost business activities in Sokoto.
He also vowed to abide by the terms of the matching fund agreement and promised to provide the state’s counterpart funding of N1billion as early as possible to enable entrepreneurs in the state begin to enjoy the facility.
Tambuwal allayed the fear over non-payment of loans, insisting that only trusted, committed, visionary entrepreneurs in the state would be recommend to the bank for business.