The Bank of Industry (BoI) and Bayelsa State government have evolved N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) fund towards enhancing value addition and diversification of the nation’s economy.
This was revealed in a statement to newsmen on Thursday in Lagos.
According to the statement, the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson said that the matching fund would spur rapid economic growth in the state.
He said that the pact was timely, considering that the state government was trying to create a N10 billion entrepreneurship development fund to be managed by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
He explained that the fund will be geared towards supporting businesses and initiatives in the State’s fashion industry.
“This is why the government, among other programmes created a Microfinance bank for the first time to address challenges of funding.
“We believe that at the end, it is the small scale businesses that will drive industrialisation in Nigeria,” Dickson said.
The State Governor also said that similar initiatives would be replicated with other lenders towards achieving the state’s N10 billion entrepreneurship fund target.
He commended BoI for its support towards entrepreneurship development in the country, adding that it’s activities would reduce poverty and expedite industrialisation of the economy.
In his reaction, Mr Waheed Olagunju, Acting Managing Director, BoI, said that MSMEs, particularly those operating in agric sector has potential to drive the actualisation of industrialisation and diversification of the nation’s economy.
He said that the fund would only be given to entrepreneurs who submit themselves to capacity building programme organised by Entrepreneurship Development Centres and Pan African University.
“The capacity building programme would help convert aspiring entrepreneurs’ visions into business models in order to give their business a high chance of success.
“Globally, out of every 10 well appraised projects, about eight have the chance of succeeding.
“We are also going to help them identify areas where they will like to improve on, the risk involved, how to mitigate those risks in order to reduce the casualty rate of businesses.
“We are here to assure you that as a federal government institution, we will collaborate with you and work with all the relevant agencies in the State to ensure we align with your vision of developing Bayelsa State while also empowering citizens,” he said.
Olagunju, however, said that the fund would be disbursed at single digit interest rate, adding that BoI would support enterprises that add value to the nation’s natural endowments in line with the bank’s commodity-based industrialisation strategy.