The Executive Director, Small & Medium Enterprise directorate of BOI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, has disclosed that the Bank granted a loan of N823 billion to 4, 000 beneficiaries in the last fourteen years. Disclosing this in Lagos, Olagunju said the loan created over 1.8 million jobs from 2001 to 2014. He, however, said that the bank was working vigorously towards ensuring that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs accounts for at least 30 percent of the bank’s risk assets by the year 2019 with a single digit ratio of no-performing loans to total loans.
According to him, increasing bank’s exposure to MSMEs would enable it achieve its double bottom lines of financial viability and high developmental impacts. Olagunju said: “Since less than 10 percent of the loans went to MSMEs, we know that the developmental impacts and multiplier effects of our interventions such as job creation, would have been higher, if more financial assistance had gone to them’’
“Our strong resolve is to rapidly increase the volume of loans to MSMEs with very high viability prospects’’, he stated. According to him, there are internal and external constraints limiting BOI exposure to MSMEs sector to less than 5 percent of its portfolio over a 13 year period, noting despite some challenges of the sector, BOI identified potential viable projects and quality of entrepreneurship, which also impacts on deal flow generation, mobilization of financial and non-financial resources as well as operating environment.
‘Taking all these into consideration, we are continually doing a lot of thinking outside the box and are evolving innovative solutions and taking unprecedented steps to de-risk MSMEs sector and make them more attractive to financial institutions. Olagunju also identified rejection rate of loan applications from MSMEs as one the challenges facing the sector.
While putting application rejection rate at 90 percent, he urged loan applicants to go through any of the 122 Business Development Service Providers, BDSP, saying they are engaged with the MSMEs in various local government areas in the state. ‘’They are people closer to prospective customers, who will help them package the proposals so that by the time they get to BOI, they have what we call a bankable proposal’’, he added