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Senators, Bank of Industry lock horns over loan

By John Akubo and Ernest Nzor, Abuja
21 October 2021   |   4:06 am
The Senate Committee on Industry, yesterday, clashed with officials of the Bank of Industry (BOI) over beneficiaries of its loans.

Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Olukayode Pitan

• Senate reprimands NBRI over poor revenue generation
The Senate Committee on Industry, yesterday, clashed with officials of the Bank of Industry (BOI) over beneficiaries of its loans.

Managing Director of BOI, Olukayode Pitan, who appeared before the Committee to defend the agency’s 2022 budget, claimed BOI had no knowledge of loan beneficiaries but of loan destinations.

He said loans are secured through guarantees provided by commercial banks on behalf of beneficiaries.

Loans are given to commercial banks that provide guarantees. These then forward the money to the beneficiaries, he explained.

But his submission did not go down well with the lawmakers, who claimed many of their constituents were not benefiting from the bank’s loans because of stringent requirements.

Senator Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP, Akwa Ibom) lamented that his constituents were unable to access loans due to the refusal of commercial banks to give guarantees to his people.

Also, Senator Bulkachuwa said: “ “You, the giver of the loan, should be more interested in the loan and where each kobo you give out is going and which part of the country is benefiting. You should be able to know. You should not leave it to the commercial banks to handle alone. Our interest is to know how the Bank of Industry is performing its duty in terms of ensuring that industries are spread across the country.”

Mr. Pitan, however, said he was “misunderstood”. He explained: “BOI knows where our money is. We know where every kobo goes. I was actually answering a question on whether we are the ones that determine the beneficiaries.

“The commercial banks are the ones that give guarantees because they are the ones that would finalise the process. They determine where the loans go but there is no loan that goes out of the Bank of Industry that we, on our own, don’t analyse.”

Also, Senate Committee on Science and Technology slammed the Nigeria Building and Road Research Institute (NBRI) for generating only N18 million in the 2021 fiscal year, which is less than ten per cent of its N49 billion budgetary allocation.

Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has reiterated the commitment of the National Assembly leadership to support the legislature through the provision of infrastructure to ensure the institution delivers on its mandate to Nigerians.

Lawan gave the indication, yesterday, in an address delivered at the foundation laying ceremony to flag off construction of the permanent office complex of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC).

In another development, the Committees on Federal Character in the Senate and House of Representatives are set to work with the Federal Character Commission (FCC) towards ensuring fair and equitable distribution of socio-economic amenities and infrastructural facilities in Nigeria.

Senate Committee Chairman on FCC, Danjuma Tella La’ah, disclosed this in Abuja during a sensitisation forum.