THE Bank of Industry on Wednesday put the funding support to about 242 entrepreneurs in the North-Central region at N5bn.
It said out of this amount, N1.5bn was disbursed to 62 SMEs in the agro-processing sector in the 2016 fiscal period alone.
The Managing Director, BOI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, gave the figure while speaking on the sidelines of the BoI’s North-Central Regional Customer Forum in Abuja.
The forum, which was organised by the bank to interface with its customers in the region, had as its theme:”Nigeria’s industrialisation — our collective responsibility.”
Represented by the Divisional Head, SME-North, Mr. Omar Shekarau, the BoI MD said the substantial part of the N1.5bn loan was disbursed to the SMEs in the agro-processing sub-sector.
He said, “So far, the BoI has disbursed over N5bn to our customers in the North-Central region, comprising the Federal Capital Territory, Nassarawa, Kogi, Benue and Niger states.
“In the current year, we have funded small businesses in the region with over N1.5bn. Some of the loans are channelled to agro-processing sub-sector.”
Omar, who commended customers in the region for effective utilisation of the funds in their care, challenged them to point out to the bank areas of improvement.
Also speaking at the forum, the representative of the Country Director, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, Mr. Francis Ukoh, stressed the need to develop the capacity of the SMEs operators in the country.
He said while much emphasis had been placed on lack of access to finance, little attention was being placed on capacity of the SMEs to utilise the funds effectively.
He stated that from findings, many small-scale business operators who demanded for loans usually had problems managing such funds because they lacked the needed capacity to effectively utilise them.