By Franklin Alli & Providence Obuh
Are you a gemstones entrepreneur in Nigeria? There is good news for you especially if you are in the cutting and polishing aspects of the business.
The good news is that the Bank of Industry (BoI) is focussing its attention on people in business in this sector.
The bank wants to help you to know how to do the business better and provide you money to expand the investment with offices here and there and even export them.
Acting Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, told Business & You that the bank and Laurel School of Mines (LSM) have collaborated to train 1600 entrepreneurs across the country in the art of gemstone cutting and polishing.
Olagunju signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the bank while MD/CEO, LSM; Mr. Tope Adebanjo signed on behalf of the school.
Speaking after the signing ceremony at the BoI Head Office in Lagos, Olagunju said that trainees who show signs of becoming potential entrepreneurs would be supported by the bank and given concessional facilities to enable them trade and export gem stone.
He stated that a three day training period has been mapped out across eight locations in the country; 200 would be trained across each location in four batches of 50 to ensure effective teaching.
He said that the collaboration which will further enhance the diversification plan of the government will also serve as an avenue for job creation for many young Nigerian graduates, adding that the initiative is the boldest step taken by the bank in the Solid Mineral sector.
According to him, the solid mineral sector can be describe as the area with the lowest hanging foot, the gem stones are there in Oyo, Zamfara, North West and North Central, all you need is add value to the stones.
Adebanjo said that the idea behind the collaboration is to engage and develop entrepreneurs, adding that the value of harnessing gemstone runs into billions of dollars but that Nigeria is tapping next to nothing at the moment.
Adebanjo highlighted capital, market, technology, mineral resource and entrepreneur as key factors affecting gemstones. Of all, he said that there is a need to develop entrepreneurship capacity in this regard.
“That is what this movement is all about. Youths who are not doing anything should benefit from this. Engage the youth to take over. If we channel energy towards this, it will not only replace oil but the value will go up,” he said.