The Bank of Industry (BOI) has put the loan approval for the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Gombe State at N903.4 million, out of which 80 per cent will be specifically dedicated to Agro-processing. The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Rasheed Olaoluwa, who disclosed this during the commissioning of BOI’s new office in the state, said that so far, projects being financed through loans from the bank had created 1, 900 direct and indirect jobs in Gombe state. He said: “Shortly after my assumption of duties in May, 2011, the Governor of Gombe State expressed the desire for partnership with BOI as a vehicle for accelerating the socio-economic development of the state. In order to actualise the partnership, he made a pledge to contribute the sum of N500.00 million towards the establishment of a N1.0 billion Entrepreneurial Development Fund, which was to be matched in like sum by BOI’’.
“The first tranche of the state’s contribution to the matching fund in the sum of N250.0 million was released in August 2011. This amount was equally matched by BOI thereby creating an initial pool of N500.0 million for on-lending to entrepreneurs in the state. By this gesture, Gombe State emerged as the first in the North East geopolitical Zone to collaborate with the Bank of Industry in entrepreneurial development under the States’ Matching Fund Scheme. “I am pleased to inform you that to date, a total sum of N903.4 million was approved for 171 projects. However, because the available matching fund was N500.0 million, only 55 per cent of the approved loan amount could be funded under the matching fund scheme. It is evident that there is an urgent need for the state government to release its outstanding contribution of N250.0 million to the matching fund’’.
He added: “Notwithstanding, BOI had disbursed N110.0 million to 16 enterprises in the state from its own resources. In terms of impact, 1,277 direct and 623 indirect jobs totalling 1900 were created. Gombe State is a predominantly agrarian state and this is evidenced by the fact that, 80 per cent of the approved loans was committed to agro-processing, while 20 per cent was for other sectors like beverages, construction products, plastic and chemical products, among others. “The BOI boss noted that given the fact that Gombe State had been identified as a major hub for commodity-based industrial clusters within the North East, the bank would concentrate its lending efforts in major industrial clusters such as meat processing, metal fabrication rice milling and groundnut oil production, among others. According to him, in a bid to deepen its developmental impact in the country, BOI has identified 34 product clusters nationwide, adding that Gombe, being a major hub for clusters in the North East of Nigeria, will be a beneficiary of the initiative. Some of the identified clusters in the state, he said, include meat processing, metal fabrication rice milling, groundnut oil production, gum arabic ,dairy products ,cotton and its entire value chain ,gypsum ; limestone .