By Suzzy Tolofari
Abuja – Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, on Tuesday directed the new 10-man board of Bank of Industry (BoI) to establish social economic zones across the country.
He said that the economic zones would serve as manufacturing hubs in the country.
Enelamah gave the charge in Abuja while inaugurating the BoI bank with a mandate to drive the industrialisation components of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Enelamah said that the BoI, over the years, had demonstrated capacity in providing the much needed funding for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
He said that an area that the board should focus on after the inauguration was the establishment of social economic zones.
According to him, the zones will serve as manufacturing hubs, adding that they would have the necessary infrastructure to support government’s industrial policies.
“The BoI is an institution that has played significant role in Nigeria as it has been a partner of government in providing funds for SMEs.
“The lifeblood of any institution is in the quality of its board and I must say that we have been fortunate that the bank has continued to evolve and become a stronger institution.
“One of the commitments that President Muhammadu Buhari made is to strengthen corporate governance and make sure we have corporate governance practices to enable us deal with the issues of corruption and making Nigeria a better place to do business.
“In bringing the board together, the government has done well in terms of the quality of the people that government has chosen,” Enelamah said.
The minister said that with the composition of the board, government would be relying heavily on their wealth of experience to drive the industrial policy of the ministry.
In his acceptance speech, Alhaji Aliyu Dikko, Chairman of the board, said the member had taken the task as a national assignment.
Dikko said that the board would come up with innovative ways in supporting the diversification agenda of government.
” One of the focus of the board would be to partner with the African Finance Corporation, African Development Bank, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and other international financial institutions to raise the needed funds to finance small scale businesses,” Dikko said.
Dikko said that the board would place emphasis on development projects to ensure sustainable growth of the bank.
The Managing Director of BoI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, said that the bank would continue to do it best to effectively carry out it’s mandate.
According to him, BoI is a bank for total development of the industrial sector in Nigeria.
“Our mandate is national, we will touch the North, South, East and West. We are already doing that and we are going to do more of that.
” Like I said, part of our programme for this year is and what we intend to do is to increase the amount of money we make available.
“So, we plan in the next 12 months to raise about N1 trillion and work is already advance in some,” Pitan said.
He assured of the board’s and staff corporation to carry out all the bank’s mandate.
Other members of the board are Mr Olukayode Pitan, Mr Waheed Olagunju, Mrs Toyin Adeniji, Mr Jonathan Tobin, Mr Simon Aranonu, Mr Chukwuemeka Nzewi, Dr Bakari Wadinga, Mr Femi Edun and Dr Mudashiru Olaitan. (NAN)