- BoI, First Bank, AGDC Target Five Million Jobs With Increased On-lending to MSMEs
To increase access to funds to the underserved and intending entrepreneurs, the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Afterschool Graduate Development Centre (AGDC) have partnered to finance viable and sustainable business ideas.
The partners, working in collaboration with First Bank of Nigeria, hope to create at least five million jobs by supporting one million entrepreneurs with funds at single digit interest rate as well as enhance their capacity for sustainable growth.
Speaking at the unveiling of the partnership in Lagos, yesterday, the Acting Managing Director of the Bank of Industry (BoI), Waheed Olagunju stated that the bank was partnering with development partners to ensure that funds get to the appropriate businesses who then achieve desired impact designed under the programme’s objective.
Olagunju explained that the initiative is a lending scheme and not a grant as may be perceived by intending applicants, adding that terms and conditions have been streamlined to improve access and remove bottlenecks hitherto experienced by entrepreneurs.
On her part, the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Ibukun Awosika noted that the level of youth unemployment and the social ills arising from the trend is worrisome and should be addressed.
She said: “Right now, we are at the point of building the future of the nation and when you have an environment where 65 per cent of your able-bodied young people or where a large part of your population are out of work, you should not be able to sleep. We need to think of growing businesses in the future. So our commitment to this initiative is first to support nation building, support transforming the lives of that is so critical to our nation building, build new generation of businesses that will be our customers in the future.
“For any country in the world to achieve economic growth, it must prioritise developmental efforts towards small businesses. Small businesses represent about 60 per cent of the economy and also the largest employer of jobs in the country.
“Our long term goal is a target of about 5 million jobs to be created which will believe will be substantial enough to create some impact. If we all do our part, we will find that the cumulative effect of our contributions will change our country and move it forward as we desire.
Executive Director, AGDC, Ms Funmi Adeyemi explained that the centre’s partnership with BoI will ensure that business models are re-aligned with emerging trends for increased efficiency and profitability.
She added that micro and small businesses can access loans as low as N250,000 for new businesses and N500,000 for an existing enterprise with a tenor of one year.