The Acting Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Waheed Olagunju has said the bank is committed to its five-year plan of growing the small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) by pumping N310 billion into the sector.
Olagunju who spoke with reporters at the weekend in Offa, Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State, added that the bank will continue to support potentially viable business enterprises.
He said: “A good credit officer is not the one that throws money after any entrepreneur.
“He is trained to identify potentially viable businesses, because anytime he is lending, what he is doing is determining the probability of project repayment. Its repayment is very important, because one of the barometers for measuring the success of a venture is when you are able to honour your obligations which include debt servicing.
“We have five years strategic plan that we adopted in 2014. Under that plan, we earmarked N310 billion for small and medium scale enterprises (SME) over a-five year period. So we are still committed to that plan. We now have about three years to go in that plan which terminates in 2019.
“We still have three more years to go. We are still committed to funding SMEs in the country; because that is where you have multiplier effects per unit of investment especially the agricultural sector.
“Nigeria is richly endowed with agricultural raw materials. So if you add value to agricultural produce, you are producing food and also supplying raw materials to industry. Agriculture produces input for industrialisation like solid mineral resources.
“I don’t know of any country in the world that is better blessed than Nigeria. It is for us to harness our potential; our human resources are the biggest assets, and then we have natural resource endowment.”
According to Olagunju, the multiplier effect and developmental impact vertically and horizontally is in the agricultural sector because the value chain is very extensive.
He is optimistic that Nigeria will get out of recession sooner than later because of the resilient and creative spirit of the citizens. “It is possible for Nigeria to get out of recession. Nothing is impossible to a Nigerian; we have succeeded in many other fields. For example in telecoms, we have recorded the highest growth rate in the telecoms sector anywhere in the world. We moved from less than 500,000 telephone lines in 2001 to more than 150 million today; there is no other part of the world where such a feat is achieved.
“Those who financed the telecoms industry are doing well; it is possible to turn the economy around within a short while. When it comes to Nigeria’s prospect and prosperity, I am an incurable optimist. I do not know of any country in the world that is better blessed than Nigeria. It is for us to just harness our potential,” Olagunju said.