The Benue State Government and the Bank of Industry (BoI) have agreed to increase the base lending fund to small medium enterprises (SMEs) to N4billion in order to spur rapid economic development in the state.
Already, there’s a N2billion-matching fund contributed by both parties for the provision of concessional financial assistance to entrepreneurs operating in the state.
The acting Managing Director of BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju said at the official commissioning of the bank’s branch office in Makurdi, that the Benue State Governor, Mr. Samuel Otorm had further agreed to raise the fund to N4 billion.
He added that BoI will on its part raise its commitment from N1 billion to N2 billion.
He said as at February 2017, the bank had approved loans of about N1.5 billion to over 13 companies and micro enterprises spread across the state.
He said the decision to open the new office in the state was to sustain efforts at providing better services to the people adding that it would improve the agency’s turnaround time of processing transactions.
Olagunju said: “The Benue State governor has left no one in doubt about his commitment to ensuring rapid economic transformation of the state christened, food basket of the nation.
“The governor has expressed readiness to increase the state’s contribution to this fund between N3 to N4 billion and we assure you that we will match this in equal sum.”
He said BoI processes had been interlinked with its offices nationwide to quicken and simplify transactions, adding that the bank had come to help the state realise its rich endowment in mineral resources for industrialisation.
Ortom, while encouraging the Benue people to come forward and access the financial assistance provided by the BoI, warned beneficiaries that the money was not meant for marrying more wives but for growing businesses.
“This money is not for you to go and start marrying more wives and to buy more cars. It is meant to do business and make profits” warned the governor,” he said.