By Tony Nwanne
The Bank of Industry has expressed its readiness to partner entrepreneurs in tailoring its funding initiatives to achieve greater economic impact.
The development bank has urged its customers and would-be beneficiaries to come forward with inputs that would enable the bank serve them optimally.
Speaking at the Eastern Customer Forum in Enugu state on Thursday, the Ag. Managing Director and CEO of BoI, Waheed Olagunju, disclosed that the bank has sustained its product delivery efficiency through a number of notable improvements over the years.
Olagunju who was represented by Mohammed Abdul-Ganiyu, Divisional Head, SME South, noted that the interactive platform between the bank, its customers, development partners and the public was to promote understanding and quality service.
He stated that the bank has simplified the loan application and approval process by taking it online and eliminating time-wasting back and forth trips to various office locations across the country.
According to him: “By just clicking on a computer, loan applications can now be submitted and approved irrespective of where the person is, because we want to serve our customers better.”
He disclosed that the bank was also offering its customers and SME operators a simple technology based accounting package to help them resolve the challenge of proper record keeping and maintain an accurate profit and loss account.
“We also commissioned business development service providers to help our customers prepare loan applications in order to ensure a higher level of approvals.” He said “We also engaged audit experts to assist customers prepare audit records.”
The bank according to the Managing Director, appointed accredited estate valuers to help prospective customers carry out value proper assessment of properties.
On some of the various intervention schemes being implemented by the bank, the MD said BoI has remained committed to helping young entrepreneurs realise their dreams of building their own businesses and providing job opportunities.
According to him, under the Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) the bank has trained 868 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and out of that number, 324 qualified to apply for the Fund’s N2billion from which each person can draw up to N2million from.
He also mentioned that the bank created the N10billion Youth Empowerment Scheme for youths between the ages of 18 – 35years with a minimum qualification of OND or its equivalent and that out of 71,000 entries 5,000 were accepted for an online entrepreneurial training course anchored by the reputable Pan Atlantic University.
“We are currently running the first batch training course in 20 centres across the country and the successful applicants will eventually be able to draw up to N5million,” he said.
The Bank of Industry further used the Customer Forum as a platform to promote Business-to-Business interactions among the various customers as well as to facilitate capacity building in various aspects of regulation and business management for entrepreneurs.
One of the facilitators and a beneficiary of the bank’s facility, Arinze Nwando, CEO of Aggregate works, shared his experience with other entrepreneurs at the event.
According to him despite being a young man, BoI approved his facility application which enabled him grow his asphalt plant’s capacity from 20000 tons to 35000 tons per annum.
Arinze commended the bank for being meticulous and willing to assist its partners, he urged the bank’s customers to always consult the bank on any day-to-day challenges they might have, as BoI has built up a formidable knowledge base and network of industries and markets in the economy.
The state governments of Enugu, Abia and Anambra sent official representatives to the event besides representatives of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria and Business Development Service Providers.