By Favour Nnabugwu
Makurdi—Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, fund managed by the Bank of Industry for 21 states in the country has hit N18.3 billion.
Acting Managing Director of the bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju, who disclosed this at the signing of N2 billion development fund for MSMEs in Makurdi, Benue State, yesterday, said the state government would provide N1 billion as counterpart funding.
Olagunju said 21 states had so far been enlisted in the scheme, adding that discussions with the remaining 15 states had reached advanced stage.
“The MSMEs fund between the Bank and the 21 states is N18.3 billion,’’ he said.
Olagunju also said that four of the 21 states that enrolled in the scheme had joined the headship of the bank in acting capacity since the beginning of this year.
He said: “The MSMEs fund the bank managed for the 21 states would boost employment in those states.
“The fund will help entrepreneurs in the state add values to their agricultural produce and also boost employment generation potential of the state.’’
He advised entrepreneurs to invest in the agricultural value chain, in which the states had comparative advantage.
Olagunju also urged the governor to create industrial parks where beneficiaries of the loans would be able to leverage on infrastructure facilities to reduce operation cost.
On the significance of the parks, Olagunju said: “I suggest the governor establish industrial parks, at least, one in each senatorial district where amenities will be provided and where other infrastructure will be provided. They will share the facilities.
“Where that happens, it will reduce their start-up cost and operating expenses. It will increase their viability prospect. They will share knowledge, experience and there’ll be synergy.