THE federal government has directed the newly inaugurated board of the Bank of Industry to increase its current credit portfolio to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector. Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment, gave the directive while inaugurating the board of directors of the bank in Abuja.
Aganga noted that the current arrangement where less than 15 percent of the bank’s loan funds were set aside for the development of the MSME sector was no longer acceptable. The minister said since the current 15 percent was no longer acceptable, there was a need for the board to carry out an upward review of the loan funds in a manner that would enable the sector to create more jobs and generate wealth.
“The core mandate of the BoI is to provide financial assistance for the establishment of large, medium and small projects as well as expansion, diversification and modernisation of existing enterprises and the rehabilitation of ailing industries. I would like to use this occasion to remind the BoI that the future of the MSMEs rests squarely on how responsive you are to their funding needs. The current arrangement where less than 15 percent loanable funds is being set aside for the MSME needs is unacceptable and must be reviewed upwards, having regard to the potential of the sector to create jobs and generate wealth,” he said.
Aganga advised the board to adopt the practice in China and Indonesia where significant portions of loanable funds without collateral were extended to the MSMEs. He said of the amount given to the MSMEs in these countries, about 97 percent of the loans were repaid. The minister said the federal government would continue to give policy guidance to the bank towards achieving its mandate.
He also directed the newly inaugurated board to forward quarterly progress report of the bank’s activities to the ministry. The report, according to him, must contain analysis of loan book by sector, impact of the BoI on the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan, jobs created and contributions to national development. “The vision of the Federal Government has not changed. The bank and its board are, therefore, expected as partners in the business sphere, to share in the common national vision towards achieving those objectives for which the bank was established. This should and must be done with every sense of duty to ensure the striking of a balance between the bank’s quest for higher dividends and its social obligation to the nation.”
Abdulsamad Rabiu, chairman of the board, said the BoI would continue to work with the government to industrialise the country. He said the bank had identified the key sectors of the economy for support in the area of providing access to financing.
Technological Revolution in Dangote Cement
THE management of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, and stockbrokers in the cement industry have commended Dangote Group for its investment in the industry. The NSE described it as a revolution in the transformation of the Nigerian economy.
Oscar Onyema, director-general, NSE, who led investors, leading players at the Exchange as well as top stockbrokers on a visit to the Ibese plant of Dangote Cement Plc in Ogun State, expressed surprise at the level of technologies being used in the plant. Onyema, according to a statement by the Dangote Group, expressed admiration for the extensive investment made by the company on the two additional lines of three million metric tonnes per annum, which would raise the total production capacity at the Ibese plant to 12 mmtpa as well as on the latest technologies on offer, adding that Nigeria needed more Dangotes.
He said when taken through the quality control mechanism and the robotic laboratory, that the end product of the quality checks and assurances was the 42.5 grade of cement, “If this is the case, the 42.5 grade is the way to go. What we have seen here is amazing. I know for sure that this high level technology saves time and cost coupled with the technical capabilities, quality control and the quality of the end product, I can speak on behalf of my colleagues that what we have seen is fantastic and that Dangote Cement is incomparable.
“The calibration of the sample of the 42.5 grade demonstrated here to show that the quality is the way to go to restore sanity to the construction industry currently being plagued with building collapse and loss of lives and properties. The operations here are impressive; the shareholders have cause to hope for more with more investments ongoing and not only in Nigeria, but across the continent. I can assure you that the stockbrokers here will start talking to their clients about the exploits of Dangote Cement and the profit prospect,” he said.
Earlier, Devakumar Edwin, group managing director, Dangote Cement, explained why the company could not have been producing lower grade of cement, saying the machines at the plant were the latest technologies from leading manufacturers all over the world.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Jul. 28, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT