Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan
The Bank of Industry has disbursed N18bn, out of the N20bn intervention fund meant to enhance the expansion of the small and medium-scale industries in Oyo State.
The Managing Director, BOI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, disclosed this when he led the management team on a courtesy visit to the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at his office, in Ibadan, on Tuesday.
Given its size and comparative advantage, he said that Oyo State was in a vantage position to contribute hugely to the quest by the bank to reposition the country’s economy through the empowerment of SMIs.
Pitan explained that industrial concerns were the beneficiaries of the N18bn already disbursed, stressing that the N2bn balance was meant for other beneficiaries who were yet to access the fund.
He said, “Oyo State is very dear to the heart of our organisation due to its centrality to Lagos, which is an African commercial nerve and for the rest of the country. So, we are supporting a lot of industries in Oyo State.
“Out of the N20 billion approved for the state, N18 billion had been disbursed to beneficiaries in the SMIs. The balance of N2bn is yet to be disbursed. This gesture is solely because of the importance of Oyo State as the gateway between Lagos, and the Southern and Northern Nigeria.
“The giant stride of the current administration in Oyo State is obvious to all in the areas of physical infrastructure, urban renewal and industrialization. You are a builder and we want to build Oyo State with you.”
In his response, the governor called on the bank to look closely at the possibility of funding the emerging technological hub in the state, as well as agriculture due to the pivotal roles the governor said both could play in making the state another commercial haven.
Ajimobi said that the state lost its commercial glory over a period of time due to the negligence of the SMIs by successive administrations, adding that his administration was working round the clock to revamp the economy of the state.
He said, “The position of Oyo State in geographical, historical and commercial dominance in the past was overtaken by other states due to the neglect of SMIs. But, since our coming we have been working hard to harness the potential of the state in order to restore the lost glory.
“The present development in Oyo State was premised on security, social infrastructure and industrialisation. We believe in using technology to turn things around. This is why we established the Free Trade Zone, Technical University and other technical corridors.
“This is the area we believe your bank’s intervention is mostly needed and useful. Lack of middle-level manpower in Nigeria, which has become an economic albatross, is where your bank can come in and assist investors.
“Also, in the area of agriculture Oyo State is known to be a major producer of cashew nuts. Today, agriculture is the only venture in which political office holders are also allowed to invest, according to the constitution. So, we want you to devote more funds to this as well.”