BoI targets bottom of pyramid with N3.1b to microfinance banks
To further increase access to credit by the under-served and under-banked micro-entrepreneurs, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has disbursed N3.1 billion to 14 microfinance institutions under its Bottom of Pyramid (BOP) scheme.
According to the bank, the BOP scheme is essentially aimed at poverty reduction through job and wealth creation focused on the rural micro-enterprise operators with a view to extending financial inclusion to them.
BOP is therefore designed to leverage on the spread and penetration of participating financial institutions across the country to stimulate economic activity among micro-entrepreneurs.
Indeed, microfinance banks were selected by BoI to leverage on their spread and penetration in all parts of the country to stimulate economic activity within the critical mass at the bottom of the pyramid.
The Acting Managing Director of the bank, Waheed Olagunju, during the presentation of cheques to LAPO Microfinance Bank, Fortis Microfinance Bank and Lotus Capital Ltd in Lagos on Friday, said the funds are expected to assist underserved entrepreneurs in implementing government’s diversification agenda through the real sector.
Specifically, Olagunju presented a cheque of N1 billion to LAPO Microfinance Bank, N500 million each to Fortis Microfinance Bank and Lotus Capital.
He said the bank had previously disbursed N1.1 billion to 11 microfinance banks under the scheme.
According to him, the bank has approvals of N1.13 billion for nine other microfinance banks presently undergoing disbursement process.
“We also decided to work with microfinance banks because lending to micro enterprises requires special skills that they have acquired,” Olagunju said.
The managing director listed the activities to be financed to include agriculture, manufacturing, food products, beverages, solid minerals, services and artisanal activities.
Olagunju said the scheme aligns with government’s employment and wealth creation objectives of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP).
He urged the banks to utilise the partnership and opportunity to lift Nigerians out of poverty.
The Managing Director, Lotus Capital, Mrs Hajara Adeola, said the partnership would boost economic activities and lead the country out of recession.
The Managing Director, LAPO Microfinance Bank, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, on his part argued that economic revitalisation would take place if large numbers of citizens at the bottom of the ladder were engaged.
He noted that the partnership would enhance productivity of the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector while ensuring their contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).