Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government has disbursed over N150m to more than four million Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises within the past five years.
Osinbajo stated this while speaking at the Bank of Industry (BOI) Aid for Productivity report launch in Abuja on Monday.
He said the administration, determined to boost economic growth, ramped up its support for the MSME sector, which accounts for close to 50 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 76 per cent of the country’s labour force.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Laolu Akande, the VP noted that the success of the BOI Growth Platform was the story of “the Nigerian can-do spirit and the entrepreneurial DNA we carry.”
He said, “Beyond providing interest-free microcredit loans to petty traders, the various social intervention schemes of the Buhari administration have made a significant impact in the lives of millions of ordinary Nigerians.
“This is a shining case study of what President Muhammadu Buhari strongly believes: that Nigerians will solve Nigeria’s problems. This is an example of what we can achieve when we unleash the best of our people – especially our young – on the toughest of our challenges, and give them the free hand to deliver results.
“What might also not be obvious is the sheer scale of impact that has been achieved with these programmes, as over four million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have been direct beneficiaries of the over N150bn deployed in the past five years.”
Osinbajo added that 57 per cent of the MSMEs were owned by Nigerians below 35 years of age, and close to 60 per cent of the beneficiaries were women.
“What is even less glaring is that the team of Nigerian professionals behind this work is largely young, with an average age of 28 years old,” he stated.
Osinbajo also praised the infrastructure and transparency behind the BOI Growth Platform schemes.
He commended the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan; as well as the BOI Growth Platform team led by its Executive Director, BOI, Toyin Adeniji; with Uzoma Nwagba as its Chief Operating Officer.
According to the VP, “they have brought to bear the best of experience and bold thinking, the depths of innovation and youth, and a detailed understanding of the Nigerian spirit, to build an operation and impact that have become a national pride.
“The over four million micro, small and medium enterprises impacted till date, and the several more to come, are a direct testament to their hard work.”
In his remarks, the BOI Managing Director, Mr Olukayode Pitan, restated the impact of its programmes, noting how programmes such as GEEP have won several local and international awards, including the award at the 2019 African Bankers’ Awards as the most impactful Financial Inclusion program in Africa.