The Bank of Industry says it will empower 110,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the North-East part of Nigeria with the sum of N2.4bn.
Six states are in Nigeria’s North-East and they are Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba.
The BoI said the empowerment programme was part of its strategies to reduce poverty in the region caused by the activities of insurgents.
In his address, in Abuja at a BoI roundtable discussion on investment in communities affected by Boko Haram conflict, the Chairman of the bank, Aliyu Dikko, said the impact of the crisis had made it imperative for the bank to come up with a North-East rehabilitation fund.
He said the BoI intervention fund was an approach to support the development of the region.
According to Dikko, through the intervention, the bank would be able to transform the region by supporting businesses with zero- interest loans.
He said that the fund was tailored towards the peculiar needs of the region as it was being fashioned under the framework of the TraderMoni initiative.
The BoI boss noted that the human, social and economic losses to the conflict and the investments needed for recovery, peace building and reconstruction of the North-East were overwhelming.
He stated that the damage to education and health facilities, markets and farms, infrastructure, loss of job opportunities and the psychological impact of the crisis had made the region to suffer an estimated output loss of N1.66trn, coupled with significant inflation.
Dikko said, “Given our mandate to stimulate economic growth and sustainable industrial development, Bank of Industry has embarked on an economic revival plan for the North-East region. Our objective is to stem the spate of poverty and reduce the reliance of the indigenes on humanitarian aid.
“In the last four years, the bank has provided financial support amounting to N678bn to over two million enterprises across the country, creating over five million jobs.
“A major part of these jobs was created using the TraderMoni model which is a Federal Government scheme targeted at micro-businesses particularly petty traders.”
In her remarks, the Executive Director, Micro Enterprises, BoI, Toyin Adeniji, stated that through the North-East fund, the bank had committed N2.4bn worth of intervention fund to support businesses in the region with easily accessible, collateral free, zero-interest loans.