By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Bank of Industry (BoI) and the Ebonyi State Government have sealed a N4 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote agriculture and the setting up of industries in the state in a bid to create jobs and wealth through entrepreneurship.
The deal, which was sealed at the Ebonyi State Government House in Abakaliki on Monday, is targeted at setting up one industry in each of the 150 communities captured under the N4 billion fund.
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State commended BoI for supporting the state’s economic growth initiative with 50 per cent of the fund, stressing that the bank was not out to make money but to foster development.
He added that empowerment programmes have been proven to be more impacting when anchored with BoI, which has competent personnel and an effective coordinating strategy. “Free money is not productive when it is not worked for and the way to go about empowerment is what we have done today with the BoI, which has made tremendous impact in recent times. If this is enacted across the 36 states of Nigeria, it will lead to job creation on a massive scale,” he said.
The governor added that the initiative was Nigeria’s solution to the economic recession currently plaguing the country following the crash of global oil prices. Umahi explained that N2 billion under the initiative will be dedicated to the agriculture sector while the other N2 billion will go to the industrial sector. He said beneficiaries of short-term loans will be charged 5 per cent, while long-term beneficiaries will pay back with a 6.25 per cent.
He charged his cabinet members to drive awareness of the intervention fund across their constituencies and encourage would-be beneficiaries to set up cooperative societies to enable them access the fund and attend entrepreneurship capacity building workshops to be hosted by BoI. Earlier in his remarks, Managing Director of BoI, Mr. Kayode Pitan, noted that the bank has been involved in supporting entrepreneurs in the growth of large and small scale industries in the state before now in excess of N2 billion.