BoI reaffirms commitment to MSME development, youth empowerment
Acknowledging that Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are veritable tools for economic growth, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has restated its commitment to drive Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development in Nigeria. Indeed, the bank stated the need to support the SME sub sector to get the economy back on track, saying that over the years, the Development Finance Institution (DFI) had developed a lot of products to empower youths in the country.
The acting Managing Director, BoI, Waheed Olagunju, during an MSME forum jointly organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos, said: “There are a whole lots of things we do yearly to provide support for MSMEs. We need to support SMEs to get our economy to the level that we desire economically. The youth population in our country is very huge and it is a major opportunity for us to take advantage of, but if we do not harness it properly, we can actually have ourselves to blame for it. The young people have a lot of energy to do a whole lot of things, but we must identify those that have the skill set so that we can train them to become job employers rather than job seekers.”
The Bank’s boss who was represented by the Group Head Strategy and Corporate Transformation, Yinka Adegboye, highlighted the bank’s different initiatives geared towards youth empowerment in Nigeria, adding that its Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), a N10 billion fund to provide funds for youth to start up their businesses have identified about 44 business clusters.
“We have been doing this for so long and over the years we have developed a whole lot of products. We also have a partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) based on our Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF), a N2 billion intervention fund established in 2014. We have been disbursing to corps members that aspire to be entrepreneurs,” he said.
According to him, the federal government has also earmarked N140 billion from its 2016 and 2017 budget of about N500 billion for special intervention programmes, maintaining that this fund is to be managed and disbursed by the bank to about 1.6 million beneficiaries in the lowest segments of bottom of the pyramid, specifically market women, agricultural workers, artisans and youths.