The Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Kaduna State Government yesterday signed an agreement to raise N1billion Entrepreneurial Development Fund (EDF) to boost the operation of small-scale businesses in the state.
This is even as the development bank put the total loan portfolio to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Kaduna State till date at N23.6billion.
Based on the term of the agreement, the Kaduna State Government raised the sum of N500million, while BOI matched it up with another N500million, totalling N1billion.
The fund, which would be given out as soft loans, is aimed at empowering small businesses in the state to, among other things, enable them process the abundant agricultural products that abound in the state, thereby arresting the colossal post-harvest losses occasioned by lack of crop preservation capacity.
Speaking during the signing of the MoU, the managing director, Bank of Industry, Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa, stated that the pool of funds which would be given out as loans to SMEs operators would help to boost commercial activities in the state.
Apart from helping to empower the people of Kaduna State, the MD also noted that the injection of the fund would have multiplier effect on the people of the state while complementing the poverty reduction programme of the present administration.
Apart from the N1billion loan deal, Olaoluwa said the bank had given out N23.6billion soft loan in support of small businesses in the state.
He expressed the commitment of the bank to continue to help small businesses not only in the state, but also across the 36 states in the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), adding that that was the surest way Nigeria could consolidate its status as the economy hub of Africa.
In his speech, the governor explained that he entered into the deal with the BOI in order to revatilise some of the moribund industries in the state, lamenting that some commercial banks were not interested in small businesses.
According to him, the loan deal would enable small and medium business operators in the state harness the agricultural and other mineral resources in the state for rapid Industrialisation.