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BOI will empower small businesses in rural communities

by Business News Report

The Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BOI), Ms Evelyn Oputu, has expressed the bank’s readiness to empower more small businesses in the rural communities in 2014 through collaboration. Oputu said in Abuja that BOI would continue to deal with small businesses that had challenges of accessing funds. She also said that the bank would not only provide additional funds for them, but would also provide an enabling environment by building their capacity.

Oputu said that BOI would focus on renewal of rural communities by engaging people who would go to the rural areas to ensure that they become part of the society. The managing director said that the bank would focus more on Agri-business to ensure that the productive asset of the rural population became an inclusive development programme. “One of the things that we are proud of in the Bank of Industry is being able to empower the unbanked, the small businesses we have expanded by associating with our development partners We continue to deal with the small businesses that are much challenged not just in terms of giving them additional funding, but also to empower them through training for capacity building by providing enabling environment as much as we can.

“What we are focusing on this year is on the renewal of the rural community by trying to get people to go into rural community and ensure that they become part of the society.’’ Oputu said that the bank would collaborate with the National Youth Service Corps to ensure that the people at the rural areas had access to market. She pointed out that the BOI only lend money to those who could repay, adding that access to market was paramount since there were limited economic activities in the rural communities.

“BOI is utilising some microfinance banks to loan funds to people in the rural areas while the small loans that we cannot give. We are trying to work with NYSC to ensure that most of the products that come out of the rural communities can be transported to where they are required,’’ she said. Oputu also said that the loans would be monitored jointly with the MFBs, NYSC, the states and the local governments in order to address the challenges of the rural environment. Right now, we are working with UNIDO, NYSC, the state and local governments, the communities and SMEDAN that provides capacity in terms of training for them where we can’t do it. We first identify the problem, then we work with everybody who we can collaborate with because the synergy that arises out of such collaboration is what solves problems,” she said.

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