BoI earmarks N50bn for food processing industry
by ODINAKA ANUDU
March 5, 2018 | 12:41 am| | | Start Conversation
The Bank of Industry (BoI) says it has earmarked N50 billion for genuine food processing companies in Nigeria to save the huge foreign exchange the country spends yearly on food imports while also achieving food security for the growing population.
The bank disclosed this during the visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Industry, Trade and Investment to some of the manufacturers supported by BoI in Lagos.
Waheed Olagunju, executive director, SMEs, who represented Olukayode Pitan, managing director, BoI, said more than 96 per cent of its risk assets are performing, maintaining that the bank closed the financial year of 2016 with a Non Performing Loan (NPL) ratio of 3.7 per cent, which he described as the lowest in the country.
“The industry average of that year went up to about 15 per cent put against the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) threshold of five per cent.”
He said so far, with the support of the federal government and the National Assembly, the bank was able to guarantee a line of credit worth over $500 million from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) which required a sovereign guarantee.
“This is a line of credit approved by the AfDB, which we have to repay, and this is why whenever we grant loans, they will be loans of very high probability of repayment. We want to appeal to our current and prospective customers to please see things from our own point of view. We are always ready to partner serious-minded entrepreneurs that adhere to global best practices,” he said.
Abubakar Moriki, chairman of the House Committee, said the bank’s mandate to drive industrial growth in Nigeria has helped to save the country from spending its hard earned foreign exchange on products it has the competitive and comparative advantage of producing.
“We have been briefed of the bank’s historical evolution and its equity structure, balance sheet over the years and indeed, I will say at this juncture that as a typical development finance institution, the bank is doing very well.”
Moriki called on the management of BoI to seek ways of reaching a balance on how to make its intervention funds more accessible to prospective customers without compromising its stringent conditionalities.
Wemimo Olawuni, executive director, Printserve Limited, said BoI has been supportive in terms of investment financing, stressing that its loans obtained at 10 percent interest rate has put her company on a good pedestal to compete globally.
“We believe this is part of policies of the federal government to boost local production. The loan has put us on a good pedestal. It has really helped us to stabilise and we are already in the process of getting another loan. We could have been paying 23 to 25 percent if we had gone to commercial banks. We need the federal government’s intervention to ban importation of goods we can produce locally. We need adequate patronage from federal government agencies,” Olawuni said.
Obi Ezeude, managing director, Beloxxi Industries, commended BoI and other finance partners for their tireless efforts targeted at supporting local production. Ezeude said that this is the only way to achieve the federal government’s economic diversification agenda.
“For us it is dream come true. We had a humble beginning from importation of biscuits to manufacturing. The quality of biscuits coming out of this factory is of high quality and this expansion would see the company dominating the biscuit industry while also discouraging import of the commodity,” he said.
Big Read |