The Bank of Industry and Sokoto State government have agreed on establishment of a N2billion matching fund for on lending to the micro, small, medium enterprises in the state.
The deal was sealed between the development finance institution and Sokoto State Government .
Earlier in the day, the bank had commissioned its office at the heart of the state’s capital city, Sokoto.
Speaking during the MoU signing, the Acting Managing Director, BoI, Waheed 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.
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.
On why the bank is partnering with states, he said,”We look at our mandate of transforming Nigeria’s industrial landscape and we realise that we cannot do it alone. Finance is just one of the factors of production. There are other things that needed to come into the fore before we can support entrepreneurs across the country.
“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.”
Speaking earlier during the commissioning of the bank’s state office, Olagunju noted that bank had so far disbursed N1.6billion to 25 industrialists in the state.
He further disclosed that as part of the strategies to deepen it credit delivery process in the state, the bank had commenced product programmes that were targeted towards funding projects in the 40 identified products.
In order to give effect to the strategy, Olagunju 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.
On the significance of the bank’s state office in Sokoto, Olagunju said,”With BoI’s presence in the historic city of Sokoto, we believe the developmental impact of the bank will be greatly enhanced in support of the real sector and also complement the state government ‘s socio-economic development objectives.”
Responding, the executive governor of Sokoto State, 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 earlier 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.
The governor said,”This is the time we have been longing for. It is good for our people, especially the entrepreneurs. Our entrepreneurs here are very enthusiastic and committed. They only lack two things: organisation and funding.
“However, the government is ready to organize them and we are happy you are here to give us support to fund them. Rest assure in the next two years, this effort will have yielded positive result. As a government we are ready to give our people all the required supports. We can only recommend those we trust will utilize the fund that are going to be made available them judiciously. We are committed to the terms of the agreement of the MoU.”