The Federal Government, has made a bold move to shore up Bank of Industry’s (BoI’s) rating and restore its original role.
It plans to do this by leaving the responsibility of identifying beneficiaries of the N112.2 billion soft loans under the 2017 budget proposals currently before the National Assembly to the bank henceforth.
The bank is also to improve on the basis of disbursing the loan to beneficiaries to achieve better result.
Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said government is reviewing the system, which would see beneficiaries of GEEP receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time 5 per cent administrative fee to be faster.
The programne tagged Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), is to be make accessment of funds by startups and other small and medium term enterprises easier, compared with going through conventional banking system.
It could be recalled that an international rating agency, Fitch Ratings, in its 2016 report, reduced the BiO’s assessment rating from B+ to B, citing the bank’s inability to impact meaningfully to building up capacities within the private sector, especially among startups as the major reason.
Also the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Jumai Alhassan, said: “The Federal Government recognises the difficulties in securing business loans from commercial banks, therefore, measures for monitoring and evaluation of disbursements, usage and recovery have been put in place so that beneficiaries can repay the loan in six months and others can benefit from the revolving scheme.
‘‘The repayment schedules are easier and less stringent than those of conventional banking loans, so we are sure that the country will witness increased economic activities with the desired multiple effects and subsequent boost in the economy.
‘‘Out of the GEEP fund, the sum of N1.6 billion has been set- aside exclusively for women only to be known as the National Women Empowerment fund (NAWEF). Both the GEEP and NAWEF are financial inclusion and micro-credit programmes”, she stated.
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