The Bank of Industry (BoI) has reiterated its resolve to remain a catalyst of economic development in the country.
Mr Oukayode Pitan, the Managing Director of BoI, made this known on Wednesday, at the formal inauguration of Aba Finished Leather Goods Cluster Financing Programme in Aba.
Pitan said BoI would continue to focus on the growth and development of the Aba leather finished goods cluster through initiatives that promote the “Made-in-Aba” brand.
He said the BoI was led to design the financing programme to boost the creation of jobs and improve the quality of life of artisans by providing non-collateral loans.
He explained that the sum of N300, 000 would be given to each person to procure small production tools.
The programme is being implemented in partnership with Ford Foundation and Fidelity Bank.
In his speech, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, said the financing programme was targeted at developing sustainable economic growth.
Enelamah, who was represented by Mr Edet Akpan, said the Federal Government had evolved the financing programme to encourage leather artisans to improve their capacity.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia said his administration was committed to delivering quality infrastructure that would boost business activities in the state.
He urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the loans, and that the strength of Abia was dependent on the productivity of its people.
In his remark, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, said the bank would provide efficient account management services to ensure that beneficiaries utilised the loan wisely.
Okonkwo, who was represented by Mr Obaro Odeghe, said the bank had resolved to partner BoI as part of its commitment to build Nigeria’s next generation of entrepreneurs.
Responding, Mr Okechukwu Williams, the Chairman of Leather Products Manufacturers Association of Abia State (LEPMAAS), described the initiative as a welcome development.
Williams expressed gratitude for the opportunity, which the association had received to compete with leather products manufacturers across the world.