The Bank of Industry (BOI) has announced that over N22 billion has been budgeted to drive women entrepreneurship in the country, even as it restated its commitment to women empowerment.
The Managing Director, BOI, Olukayode Pitan, explained that in 2017, a cumulative disbursement of about N20.5 billion was made to support women businesses in the country, maintaining that the N22 billion by way of disbursement this year, would represent a record breaking achievement of what the bank has done in the past 12 years.
The BoI boss represented by the Executive Director, SMEs, Waheed Olagunju, during an event to commemorate the international women’s day, said, “We are looking at ways to support businesses promoted by women, businesses owned by women, businesses led by women in terms of management or businesses that generate huge employment for women.
“Let us know how best BOI can assist you. We are receptive and we know many of you have travelled wide both within and outside the country. We want to know the best practices in other parts of the world. Let us know how best we can assist women in Nigeria.”
He added saying that, “the eight years we had a woman as Managing Director was the period we experienced the greatest transformation in the bank.
When she took over in December 2005 she inherited a loan book of N9 billion and within one year, the loan book doubled from N9 billion in four years to N22 billion in one year and as at the time she left the bank, she left behind a profit of about N3 billion in 2014 and our risk assets have grown phenomenally to more than N500 billion.
“We want this replicated in other areas. We have seen what other women have done in terms of managing enterprises and that is why we believe women can do a lot more both in the private and public sector in terms of leading this country to the promise land.”
He said women account for more than 50 per cent of world population, saying that there is no way Nigeria can grow its GDP at double digits without having all hands on board.
Olagunju noted that to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, women have critical roles to play and it is only when they have the means to do better than what they are currently doing is the only way to achieve these SDGs, double digit and increase per capita income.
The Minister, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator. Aisha Alhassan, commended the bank, adding that the event was a reflection of the bank’s gender friendliness while also understanding the role of women in economic growth.