The Bank of Industry (BoI) has said that its loan disbursements to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and large enterprises have hit over a trillion naira in six years.
According to the development finance institution (DFI), the feat was achieved through strong strategic partnerships with various institutions in the states, federal government agencies and private sector organisations.
The managing director of the bank, Oluwakayode Pitan, gave the figure at the 37th Omolayole Management Lecture series themed “African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)- Prospects for African Youth Leadership” organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
He maintained that the bank was at the forefront of industrialising the economy and would continue to take deliberate steps towards addressing issues related to financing gaps across all business segments.
According to him, in the last three years, over $3 billion has been raised through the international financial market in its objective to continuously improve its capacity to bridge the huge financing gap that exists in Nigeria’s industrial sector.
He added that there was a growing number of start-up businesses in Africa at present, as young people are embracing entrepreneurial mind-set and technological skills, resulting in the rapid digital transformation of the continent.
He advised that to address this risk and realise the gains expected from a free trade area, there was a need for increased infrastructure investment in Nigeria, through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
The PPP model, he said, should be significantly leveraged towards building sustainable infrastructural facilities across the country, while the government provides an enabling governance framework.
Earlier, the president, LCCI, Toki Mabogunje, expressed concerns over the high level of youth unemployment pegged at over 33 per cent as at Q4, 2020.
She called for urgent programmes and projects that would engage the nation’s innovative and dynamic youth to unleash their latent potential for the benefit of the country.
She added that AfCFTA would provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs and start-ups to explore a continent-wide market if well launched, structured and implemented.
She stated that the agreement became operational on January 1, 2021 and marks the biggest free trade area globally in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995.