By Franklin Alli
The Bank of Industry, has turned down request by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) to fund its proposed SMEs cluster at Imota in Ikrodu area of Lagos State, saying “it is not part of our core mandates.”
The bank, however, reaffirmed its commitment to increase funding of genuine SMEs, especially those that are adding value to the economy in terms of jobs creation.
NASME led by its National Deputy President, Prince Orimadegun Agboade, had during a courtesy visit to the newly constituted Board of BOI, requested among other things, funding of its cluster project and assistance to implement its programmes capable of transforming SMEs in the country.
In his response, Rasheed Olaoluwa, Managing Director /CEO, BOI, said, “We will be part of your international conference and we will see how we can support you.Like I said earlier funding cluster is not what we do; the bank finances long-term plants and machinery while the SMEs friendly banks provide the working capital loans.
“For SMEs, our emphasis is on the genuine SMEs that add value in Nigeria. Experience has shown us that we have a lot of SMEs that are not really genuine. That is the truth. There are SMEs that just incorporated to chase contracts in various ministries; there are SMEs incorporated to chase supply contracts, construction contracts, SMEs that are into trading and exporting activity.
“We are very keen to support only SMEs that will add value to the economy by adding value I mean, by going into processing and manufacturing activities. That is how we can really increase the contribution of manufacturing to Nigeria’s GDP.That ration is currently peaking at 6.8 percent in the recently rebased GDP