In an interview with THISDAY in Cairo, Egypt, Olukayode Pitan, the Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BoI) said the partnership between the Bank and some state governments have enhanced lending to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across Nigeria to the tune of over 20 billion naira in 2018.
According to Pitan, “BoI on its own has partnership arrangements with states and we call it matching funds whereby whatever amount of money the state gives to us, we match it with the same amount of money, and this funds are disbursed in the same state. Our matching funds are over N20 billion in terms of people that we have reached. We have reached over one million Nigerians in one way or the other this year”.
He noted that “matching funds is a product that we put together to encourage the states to be able to lend to small enterprises, for instance, we have in Kaduna, we have in Kano, and we have in different states”.
Speaking on the Intra-African Trade Fair, Pitan said the Bank of Industry sponsored over 50 companies to showcase their products. He said “this trade fair is the first of its kind in Africa, and we know it is very important, so we went out of our way to engage our customers –SMEs. So, we brought at least 50 companies at various levels of support, they were very small and they got close to 100 percent sponsorship”.
Segun Awolowo, the head of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council commended the African Export-Import Bank and the African Union (AU) for organising the trade fair.
Awolowo said the initiative will provide an opportunity for the promotion and trade of commercial activities between Nigeria and the rest of the African Continent, as well as strengthen existing economic and diplomatic ties within Africa.