The Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Institute of Appraisers and Cost Engineers (IACE), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), have intensified talks on areas of collaboration to create jobs and produce employable graduates in schools.
BOI told members of the IACE, who visited the bank’s regional office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, that they could key into its efforts to solve the nation’s unemployment challenges, especially among youths through an outcome based education funding product tagged, Education Around Sustainable Enterprises (EASE).
The bank’s South-South Regional Manager, Pacqueens Irabor, who received the IACE Rivers delegation led by its Acting Chairman, Engr. Jones Okorie, said BOI had reached out to primary, tertiary and technical schools to sell its product EASE to their management.
He said BOI would enter into partnership to set up vocational enterprises, which would be operated in the various schools as both commercial enterprises and training centres on skill acquisition for students.
He said the schools would be encouraged through funding by BOI to establish ventures in different areas such as poultry, fish farms, tailoring, machining and metal fabrication workshop, commercial kitchens, accounting firms, clinics, auto diagnostic centres among others.
Irabor said when successfully established such ventures would provide services to their immediate and remote communities while helping to equip their students with relevant and marketable skills.
Irabor said the BOI was ready to fund such enterprises provided they could commit to repaying the loans through their cash flows.
He urged members of IACE to embrace the initiative by approaching technical schools, polytechnics and engineering faculties of universities to obtain concessions or Public Private Partnership (PPP) contracts to operate and turnaround some under-utilized engineering assets owned by the schools.
He said: “We hope that soon we will see engineers going to these schools, as entrepreneurs, to broker concession deals and attract BOI’s patience capital to scale these ventures.”
Irabor said that BOI had the practice of allocating huge budgets every year to fund businesses across the six states of the *South-South* adding that the bank’s regional office had always met its yearly loan approval targets.
He, however, said the bank’s disbursement was constrained by dearth of credit-ready businesses as enterprises in the *region* were having challenges in the areas of quality management systems, credible accounting records and ability to provide adequate collaterals for loan requests.
He said: “So, to meet our disbursements targets every year we consistently knock on doors, build partnerships with development partners, large corporates, membership-based organizations and professional institutions like IACE to create the much needed awareness about BOI’s funding products and services.
Irabor said: “I am very proud to say that you do not need to know anybody to secure support from BOI. If you are ready to follow standards and adhere to the risk acceptance criteria which will be made available to you, upfront, then accessing our loan facilities becomes a piece of cake.”
In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of IACE, . Jones Okorie, said the collaboration with BOI especially in the areas mentioned by the bank would foster a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties and the nation in general.
He said: “This will go a long way in advancing the much needed collaboration between the Institute and BoI, considering the value that engineering brings to nation building. We recognize that proper and critical asset valuation that is engineering based will go a long way to aid your credit decision-making process and would sustainably impact on your bottom line.
“We assure you that we are ready to partner with you, we are there for you and wherever you people feel that there would be need for our support, even on advisory basis, we are disposed to come in. We have enormous brains at your disposal, noting that BOI has a whole lot to tap from the Institute.”
By TONY JOHN,