Bank of Industry (BoI) and Ebonyi State Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of N2 billion matching fund to empower Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.
Mr Olukayode Pitan managing director of BOI, said this at a meeting between the bank and Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Friday in Abuja.
Pitan said that the bank would work with the state to ensure that it provided training for the SMEs.
He said that the training would also be for some civil servants who were about to retire on how to form a company or private enterprise.
“Like in Ebony, where the emphasis is on solid minierals, we have a team that does that; we also plan to provide training for the miners.
“We are going to have joint assessment of the project to be financed because not every project can be financed automatically.
“This project is a starting point; N1billion from Ebony State Government and N1 billion from BoI, but if we are able to use this money very quickly, nothing is stopping us from having a phase two and three.
“Our people must be empowered, there are too many graduates moving around without jobs. Graduates without jobs are becoming dangerous armed robbers.
“This is what we are trying to ensure that it does not get to that point. Let us empower people and lift them up and we will work with Ebony state to do that,” Pitan said.
On process of accessing loans by young graduates, Pitan said that the bank would review its strategy.
He said that the orientation of Nigerians needed to change, adding that “intervention funds are not their own part of the national cake.’’
“If the state wants to empower you, you can’t take the money and not pay back because once you are able to pay back, the governor will be encouraged to do more.
“So the mentality of Nigerians that take money for this kind of projects has to change.
“With the type of training and curriculum that we have in universities, some have to be amended and they need to begin to teach entrepreneurial classes so that graduates do not have to work for formal organisations as employees.
“We are making sure that we support all the states of the federation on macro, medium and small enterprises,” he said.