Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, has put the loan disbursement to entrepreneurs under its Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Fund (MSME) in Niger State at N497 million. Beside the matching fund, he said the bank had on its own, disbursed direct loans in excess of N225 million to enterprises in the state. The Managing Director spoke while unveiling BoI’s Niger State office in Minna yesterday, stated that the gesture was to enable entrepreneurs harness the potential in the state to industrial scale. He also explained that beyond approving N44 million for the deployment of off-grid micro system in Bisanti, a community in the state, the bank had identified SME clusters in areas such as shea butter, yam, soya bean, rice, sugar cane, melon, fish, groundnut and cassava. According to him, the distribution of the solar-based technology in the state would help to provide energy need for the industry, particularly the segment that has no access to the national grid. The BoI boss stated that the objective of the interventions of the bank in the state was to promote job creation and rapid industrialisation. The bank CEO also urged the state entrepreneurs to avail themselves with the services of the 23 Business Development Service Providers established in the North-central geopolitical zones for the packaging of bankable business proposals. Giving update on the MSME fund which is jointly funded by the development finance institution and Kogi State, Olaoluwa noted that while the bank received 263 loan applications amounting to N2.5 billion, 116 loans totaling N497.0 million were approved. Also speaking, one of the loan beneficiaries, Dr. John Akanya stated that he ventured into bread production in order to show to his people how standards help to promote businesses. Akanya, who is the immediate past Director General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), commended the bank for the transparent ways in which loan application is being processed. Mr. Oledibe Chidebere, who spoke on behalf Microcredit Beneficiaries in Niger State, stated that apart from provision of loans, entrepreneurs in the state had learnt a great deal on how to manage their businesses through the numerous seminars organised by the bank.