By Yinka Kolawole
The Bank of Industry (BoI) has stated that Nigeria would not be able to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target by 2030 without recording successes in entrepreneurship development.
Managing Director, BoI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, noted this realization has prompted the bank to work relentlessly to build an ecosystem for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.
He asserted that MSMEs have the highest multiplier effect and developmental impacts per unit of investment, adding that with the help of its development partners, the 2030 target would be achieved.
The BoI boss stated this at the 3rd edition of the bank’s Graduate Entrepreneurship Fund (GEF) training for corps members at various NYSC camps across the country.
Pitan stated: “There is no way we can meet the SDGs without recording successes in entrepreneurship. It is only when people are productive, empowered and their purchasing power improves, that those goals will be met. There are many development partners who are willing to collaborate with us to ensure that the SDGs are achieved by 2030.”
Represented by Waheed Olagunju, BoI’s Executive Director, SMEs, Pitan said the bank has disbursed up to N500 million to 300 graduate entrepreneurs under the scheme.
“This year, we have been able to generate about 11,332 business ideas and we would be multiplying those we trained this year by three fold which is from 1000 to 3000. So far, we have disbursed about N500 million to 300 enterprises that that have been fully established while they have created about 2,700 jobs.”
According to him, the GEF scheme was set up to solve youth unemployment, stressing that youths account for 60 to 70 percent of the current level of unemployment in the country.
In his remark, Director General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Suleiman Kazaure, said from inception in 2015 till date, close to 3,000 corps members have been trained under the GEF programme. He however appealed to the management of BoI to scale up the number of would-be beneficiaries to give more youths the opportunity to start their own businesses thereby reducing the national unemployment index.