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Industrialists seek protectionist policies, reduction in interest rate

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Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan(middle); Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Dr Sam O. Egwu (3rd left); Vice Chairman of the Committee, AbdulFatai Buhari (2nd left); Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises, BoI, Waheed Olagunju (left); Member, Sen. Barnabas A. I Gemade (3rd right); Member,, Sen. Jubrin Barau,and Executive Director, Large Enterprises Directorate,BoI, Simon Aranonu (right),during oversight visit on the activities of the Bank by the Senate Committee at BoI head office in Lagos, yesterday.

Stakeholders in the real sector have called on managers of the Nigerian economy to bring down interest rate to drive Nigeria’s quest for industrialization, noting that the sector has the ability to transform the fortunes of the nation’s economy if given the necessary support.

They said the already burdened sector faced with myriads of challenges, also lacks the manpower skills required to operate some of the machineries used in most industries in the country, maintaining that there is an urgent need to bridge the dearth of skills gap.

The Managing Director, IO Furniture, Mrs. Munira Shonibare, made this call during an oversight function by the senate committee on industry, to some of the industrial firms supported by BOI.

She stated the present administration must implement policies that would protect local industries from unfair competition while also signing into law, a policy to boost patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods.

“We also need patronage, because it is one thing to set up industries and it is another to get our own people to patronise us”, she added.

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Industry, Sen. Sam Egwu, threw the committee’s full weight behind the Bank of Industry (BoI) to support and encourage local production, restating the House of Representative’s commitment to reposition the Development Finance Institution (DFI) to do even more to drive industrial development in Nigeria.

In Shonibare’s words: “The federal government is really doing so much to support local production, but as Oliver Twist we still want to ask for more, because there is still a lot to be done because what sustains the economy is driving local industries. We have to grow and sustain our economy with our own people.

“I want to thank BOI, because if it was not for the intervention, I do not think we would exist. Interest rate from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is not sustainable, but with the intervention funds from BOI, we got a 7 per cent interest rate and so far we are almost through with repayment because it is single digit. There is need for a proper training programme to bridge the skill gaps that currently exist in the industry.”

The Managing Director, Ruff n Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi, said commercial banks must change their lending model to support industries and businesses in the country, calling on the BOI to put in place technical assistance programme to industries to become more effective and competitive.

“The nation’s industries have huge potential to turn around the economy, there is need to bring down interest rates from 10 per cent to 4 per cent, because our equipment are not cheap and a lot of the things need to carry out our operations are still not locally made. The banks also have to change their lending model to support industries and businesses in the country,” she said.


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