AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Consequent to the ravaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the Bank of Industry (BOI), Nigeria’s oldest and largest Development Finance Institution, in its bid to prop up enterprises negatively impacted by the outbreak of the disease, is reviewing its strategic priorities to ensure continuous support for these enterprises by increasing its participation in agro-processing, food processing, technology, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals to help stimulate economic recovery and growth.
According to Mr. Kayode Pitan, the Managing Director of BOI, who disclosed this via a webinar on overcoming the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses, the bank’s intervention was an additional response to the critical changes in the global and local operating environments.
As part of its initial response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank introduced some palliative measures to stem the economic impact of the pandemic on its customers through: reduction of interest on its direct line of credit by 2% for one year from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021; granting of a three-month moratorium on principal repayment to all beneficiaries of the BOI Fund from April 1, 2020, to June 31, 2020; with the option to extend by up to 12 months for customers with proper justification on a case by case basis.
The bank reviewed interest rate downwards to 5% per anum, with a 3-month moratorium, for loans issued under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention programme and in line with a CBN directive. BOI also worked with the Nigerian Content Development Management Board (NCDMB) to reduce interest rates on credit facilities approved under the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund from 8% per anum to 6% per anum, including extension of the moratorium period.
Also, as part of its support for government’s COVID-19 Efforts, BoI made financial contributions to the relief efforts of governments and the organized private sector.
BOI will further review sectoral peculiarities and extent of the impact of the pandemic on areas such as manufacturing; oil and gas; cinemas/entertainment; and hospitality for the development of tailored long-term palliatives; increasing business advisory support for given current headwinds; and deliberately seek out alternative countries for future sourcing of raw materials and equipment.
Again, the bank will continue engaging with the CBN on current intervention funds and new ones targeted at weaker sectors following the pandemic; and in collaboration with the Federal Government, improve social intervention for micro-enterprises, for example, through the GEEP programme, and also proactively engage its international lenders given the current headwinds and ensure the availability of needed funding to support planned developmental support.