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If BoI is shopping for N1tn to assist SMEs, why is DBN established? —BH Analysis

Barely one month after the take off of Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), indications have emerged that Bank of Industry (BoI) that had hitherto been dull in driving the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has suddenly woken up.

This is evident based on the level of support it has been giving to the sub sector between recently and previous years.

Presenting a paper entitled; “Target Financing for SMEs’’ at a management retreat for officers of the ministry and its parastatal agencies recently, the Acting Managing Director, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said the bank is now shopping for N1 trillion in order to grow assistance to SMEs to the tune of N376 billion before the end of 2019.

Statistics show that BoI’s disbursement to SMEs increased from a record of N5.64 billion in 2015 to N8.02 billion as at end of 2016, and  all of a sudden, especially since the unveiling of DBN, the bank has suddenly jerked up total assistance from last year record of less than N10bn to N376bn.

At the unveiling of DBN, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said the bank is coming to grow the activities of small businesses which are the SMEs sub sector, thus creating a serious scenario of avoidable conflict of roles.

No doubt, the suspected conflict of roles seems to have begun as last week, BoI said it is now shopping for N1 trillion to fund SMEs, a target it has never dreamt or set before now.

Industry observers say the best bet for the Minister now is to try to streamline the duties and border of operations for both DBN and BoI to limit duplication of duties and wastages of tax payers’ money.

Besides, while trying to define the operational borders of BoI and DBN, experts also want the federal government to review the activities and relevance of other government banks that seem to be existing in buildings and not in functionality.

These banks include Bank of Infrastructure (BoInf), Bank of Agriculture (BoA) and so many others.

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