The Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N627 billion to over 7,000 enterprises in Nigeria in the last four and half years.
This was disclosed by the bank’s Managing Director, Mr Olukayode Pitan, during the NEXUS Conference held in Abuja, yesterday, with theme ‘Investment and Entrepreneurship for Resilient Communities: The Missing Link’.
Mr Pitan said the funds disbursed to the businesses led to the creation of over 2.7 million jobs during the period.
The BOI boss said since 2016, BOI has been working with the Presidency in the implementation of the Government Economic Empowerment Programme and the N-Power programme which have led to the disbursement of about N51 billion to over 2.3 million microenterprises across the country.
As a response to the humanitarian crisis in the North East, the MD said BOI has embarked on an economic rebuilding plan for the region through the North East Rehabilitation Fund in which the bank has committed N2.4 billion worth of intervention funds to support businesses with easily accessible, collateral free, zero-interest loans.
“This fund is designed as a base for kick-starting local commerce by empowering and re-establishing persons affected by conflict, and helping them regain their means of livelihood. Our objective is reducing the reliance of the indigenes on humanitarian aid,” he said.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed and the President of the International Community of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Peter Maurer, also attended the conference.
Mrs Ahmed made a case for the scaling up of the humanitarian response in the North East to match the humanitarian crisis.
The minister urged the private sector and financial institutions to move away from merely donating money to people and start investing in people and communities.
She said investing in conflict-torn areas such as the North East of Nigeria will enable the people in the region to move away from dependence to economic prosperity.
The ICRC boss, Maurer, tasked financial institutions to be in the front line of conflict communities, de-risk investments and scale up investments.
He said most interventions have been at the pilot and modelling stage, thereby creating a crisis of scale that has left people in conflict communities in poverty and want.