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By NBF News
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Cross River State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bank of Industries (BOI) for the provision of financial lifeline to small and medium scale enterprises.

Speaking at the ceremony, Governor Liyel Imoke, who described BOI as partner in the State's private sector, said the N500 million loan, which would be made available to the organized private sector has the potential of creating wealth and job, thereby transforming the socio-economic landscape of the state.

Imoke said the agreement was signed at the right time because, the state has comparative advantage in certain areas, which it has identified for the interest of the private sector, especially in the hospitality industry.

The Governor disclosed that the state has made available, some incentives for the private sector to tap in its effort to create service economy, explaining that certain facilities are being put in place to cluster around Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort to stimulate activities there because it is under utilized.

According to him, the new neighbourhood is to drive activities within Tinapa as the new road to resort is expected to bring it nearer to the city by reducing the distance by 12 kilometres. Facilities expected to be located within the new neighbourhood include an Ultra modern Calabar International Conference Centre, hotel, new Tinapa Media City for movie productions, ICT Park, International Finance Corporation (IFC) powered hospital, a private university, new golf course and a carnival village.

The Governor hinted that the state looks forward to the bank to enable it engage in the generation, distribution and transmission of energy from its proposed power plant, which small and medium scale enterprises could equally key into and benefit from it.

He explained that Government acts as a facilitator to the private sector to provide alternative economy by undertaking the processing of farm produce like cocoa, palm oil and plantain to industrial stage to increase value chain. The Managing Director of Bank of Industries (BOI), Mrs. Evelyn Opotu, said the bank is saddled with the responsibility of powering and supporting small and medium scale businesses because they are vulnerable and that the N500 million would be given to the beneficiaries directly and disclosed that Cross River State was chosen because of its leading role in tourism sector.

Oputu disclosed that she would like a situation where stronger banks work on behalf of BOI and assured that if the loan is well utilized, BOI will increase it to N2 billion.