Reps seek more BOI support for industrial sector

The House of Representatives Committee on Industry has urged the Bank of Industry (BOI), to increase funding support to industrial the sector to achieve the nation’s quest for a rapid economic development.

The committee chairman, Husaini Abubakar, made the call in Port-Harcourt, River State, at the weekend when he led other members on an oversight visit to some projects receiving the bank’s support in the state.

While commending the development finance institution for its numerous interventions aimed at repositioning Nigeria’s industrial sector, he sought for more funding for small scale industrialists.

Speaking after a tour of the facilities at Cobef International Limited, Abubakar noted that although much is still needed to be done to lift some businesses out of the woods, the bank’s efforts were still commendable, given its quantum of activities.

He, however, encouraged the Bank to look into the prospects of adjusting collateral arrangements so that there would be wider inclusiveness in terms of reach and access to the loans, and called for more awareness creation for its products and services across Nigeria.

He said: “there are many businesses out there looking for BOI’s support, and who probably qualify for it, but have not approached the bank because they do not have information about it.”

Abubakar also charged the bank to look into the possibility of providing structured support for moribund businesses in order to resuscitate them in addition to its current portfolios.

Responding, the General Manager, SME (South), BOI, Abdulganiyu Mohammed, who represented the Managing Director, Olukayode Pitan, said the bank had always been responsive in making its facilities available to businesses across the country, noting that while the bank tweaks its security arrangements from time to time, it sometimes waves the issue of collateral for MSMEs in a bid to make the loans affordable.
According to him, for any business promoter to enjoy the waiver, he must provide personal guarantors to provide cover for the facility he is applying for.

Also speaking, the Chairman, Cobef International, Christian Ohakwe, expressed satisfaction at the level of support he had enjoyed from the Bank.

He said: “the Bank of Industry has been a strong supporter of this company right from its inception. In fact, we assessed the first facility when we were just one year in existence, and since then, we have assessed loans three times and have paid back; and we are currently on the fourth one. They have been extending support to us every time we have asked, and have also recognised us as one of their ‘Hall of Fame’.”