BoI, RUFIN seal pact on soft loans for 100,000 new small businesses
The Bank of Industry, executor of MarketMoni, one of Federal Government’s social intervention programmes, has sealed a pact with the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme (RUFIN),an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), to provide access to soft loans to 100,000 small businesses.
The partnership is part of the Federal Government’s activities to stimulate the Nigerian economy and deepen financial inclusion for the economically active rural poor.
The partnership also signals the commencement of events by BOI to reach 100,000 new beneficiaries of MarketMoni through RUFIN across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones within the second quarter of 2017, as accredited individuals will have direct access to quick, easy and interest-free loans of between N10,000 to N100,000 for up to six months at no other costs except a one-time five per cent administrative fee.
According to the Bank, it hopes to leverage the success of RUFIN’s financial empowerment efforts across 12 states in Nigeria in order to reach its target GEEP market. “Already, the first phase of the loan disbursements is ongoing across Katsina, Nassarawa, Zamfara, Edo, Oyo and Lagos States, driven by RUFIN-mentored microfinance banks (MFBs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs).
“The participating MFBs and MFIs include BOWEN MFB Limited, Evbovbiorhon Community Farmers Savings and Loans Cooperatives Ltd (ECF), Rural People Development Initiative (RUPEDIN), Self–Reliance Economic Advancement Programme (SEAP) and Development Exchange Centre (DEC)”, a statement from the bank read in part.
Speaking on the partnership, the Acting Managing Director, BoI, Waheed Olagunju, confirmed that the partnership is aligned with the bank’s objective of expanding access to credit for people running micro enterprises below the bottom of pyramid, majority of which are women.
He further acknowledged the pivotal role that credit facilities play in economic growth in Nigeria, saying: “BOI’s partnership with RUFIN is geared towards stimulating this process by reaching beneficiaries in rural areas across the federation and including them in Nigeria’s financial landscape”.
On his part, the National Programme Coordinator of RUFIN,Olumuyiwa Azeez, said: “We are proud that our track record has earned us this opportunity to be a channel to reach out to thousands of micro entrepreneurs who hitherto never had opportunity of accessing fund to boost their businesses,this is in line with the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh’s aspiration to get life back to the rural people.
The MarketMoni programme targets 1.6 million beneficiaries within a year. This population consists of 1 million microenterprises of market traders (women and men); 260,000 artisans, 200,000 farmers and/or agriculture workers and 200,000 enterprising youths broadly.
It is expected that beneficiaries of the scheme would go on to create at least one new job in their localities as a result of the intervention.