Fayemi tasks BoI on agric value-chain development
…Bank disburses N19.7bn to 3,000 enterprises in three years
The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has urged the Bank of Industry (BoI), to partner with the state to move farmers from subsistence farming to commercial and agro-processing levels.
Fayemi also called on BoI to explore the knowledge economy, which is one of the pillars of his administration, for investment.
This is just as the Bank disclosed that it has disbursed N19.7 billion to over 3,000 enterprises in the South West region in the past three years from its own funds.
The Governor stated this at the weekend, during the official opening of the Ekiti branch office of BoI in Ado-Ekiti.
According to the governor, Ekiti has demonstrated its commitment to ease of doing business, adding that, “our vision is to make Ekiti a destination of choice for investment by providing an enabling environment to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of BoI who was represented by the Executive Director, Corporate Services, Jonathan Tobin said that, through the bank’s matching fund partnership with Ekiti state, which was signed in March 2010, with a total fund size of N200 million, it has been able to create loans worth N167 million with thousands of direct and indirect jobs created in the process.
“The objective of this initiative is to partner with state governments towards supporting micro, small and medium enterprises in such states, by each party setting aside equal amounts of funds.
“Bank of Industry has a long-standing relationship with Ekiti state, as the state is one of our earliest strategic partners with respect to our matching fund initiative. His Excellency, the Governor in his magnanimity, offered us a free office location for temporary use, within the central business district of the state capital, Ado-Ekiti, along secretariat road.
“The last 18 months or so have been particularly challenging for businesses, especially micro, small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria and all over the world, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ultimately led to an economic recession last year, “Tobin said.
“Thankfully, we just celebrated a fourth quarter of consecutive GDP growth, with Q3 of 2021 recording a growth of 4.03%. Our branch expansion strategy is supported by the fact that entrepreneurship creates employment and income opportunities, and therefore are major drivers of poverty reduction and economic development.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, said that the Bank of Industry has done significantly well in supporting the industrialisation strategy of the Federal Government across various sectors and business segments in Nigeria.
“As we all know, the economy of Ekiti state is largely driven by the value chain of the agricultural sector. Agriculture provides income and employment for more than 75 per cent of our population. We are well known for cultivating cash crops such as cocoa, oil palm, kolanut, plantain, bananas, cashew, citrus and timber, in addition to food crops such as rice, yam, cassava, maize and cowpea.
“One of the key mandates of the Bank of Industry, which is in harmony with both the Ekiti State Industrial Development Strategy as well as the Federal Government’s economic plan is to support value addition and processing of primary commodities, especially agricultural and mineral produce through the provision of financial and business advisory services.
“I am therefore optimistic that the opening of this new office would positively impact the economy of our state, as they are positioned to support the processing of our cocoa to chocolate; our oil palm to palm oil production; our cassava to ethanol, starch, garri and so on”, he added.
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