• Reps promises support for BoI, banking reforms

    Reps promises support for boi banking reforms - nigeria newspapers online
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    The House of Representatives Committee on Industry has highlighted a pressing push for policy reforms and increased budgetary allocations for financial support across various critical sectors, primarily focusing on the industrial and energy sectors to bolster economic growth and regional stability.

    The committee emphasised the pivotal role of the Bank of Industry (BoI) in championing economic growth through its provision of single-digit interest loans.

    These loans, according to the committee, are crucial for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that would otherwise struggle under the burdensome interest rates charged by commercial banks, which can soar between 20 to 30 per cent.

    Speaking during a visit to the BoI office in Lagos and a tour of some key projects funded by BoI, the Chairman of the Committee, Enitan Dolapo-Badru, emphasised the importance of supporting banking institutions like BoI, which offer single-digit interest rates, as crucial for the survival and competitiveness of domestic industries.

    According to him, industries are suffocating under high interest rates, noting that without remedial action, sectors crucial for the economic backbone like manufacturing will continue to decline.

    Dolapo-Badru highlighted the demise of once-thriving companies such as Dunlop and Michelin, underscoring the dire need for financial structures that can truly support the industry.

    He noted that the advantageous rates offered by BoI not only sustain businesses but also mitigate the cost pressures transferred to consumers, setting BoI apart from other financial institutions.

    However, he articulated a need for legislative support for the enhancement of the legal framework governing BoI to amplify its performance and extend its reach.

    Also speaking, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Planning, Budget, and Economic Development, Ibrahim Isiaka, voiced his concerns about the energy sector, particularly the inefficiencies of Distribution Companies (Discos).

    Isiaka advocated mandatory recapitalisation of Discos to address their funding shortages, which severely limit their capacity to distribute generated electricity effectively.

    He said national development is stifled by an unstable energy supply, noting that without rectification, the economy stands on fragile ground while suggesting a strategic intervention by BoI to stabilise the sector.

    A member of the House of Representatives for Chibok/Damboa/Gwoza Federal Constituency, Borno State, Ahmed Jaha, appealed for more focused investment in peace-stable areas to prevent the escalation of unrest and promote regional development.

    Jaha said the northeast is a keystone for national peace, adding that securing and revitalising the region is imperative for the broader security and prosperity of Nigeria.

    Another member of the committee, representing the Ihiala Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Dr Paschal Abodike, highlighted the innate entrepreneurial spirit of his constituents, who are hindered by a lack of accessible financing.

    He stressed the importance of supporting local manufacturers like Innoson Motors, which contributes significantly to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

    In response, the Executive Director of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises at BoI, Omar Shekarau, detailed ongoing efforts to address these concerns while calling for legislative support for more funding to help finance projects and businesses.

    He said BoI has expanded its reach in the northeastern states, by setting up more accessible offices and offering tailored financial products designed to foster SMEs.

    Shekarau explained that BoI’s commitment extends beyond simple financial support as it is about creating ecosystems where industries and regions can self-sustain and prosper.

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