Development Finance Institutions coming, says Okonjo-Iweala

By The Rainbow

The Federal Government will to float Development Finance Institution (DFI) within the next 18 months in order to support entrepreneurial initiatives in the country, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said.

According to her, the plan is necessitated by the dearth of institutions that could support the private sector to access long term loans to grow businesses.

The minister spoke in Lagos  at the weekend during the tour of the ultra-modern factory of Omatek Computers at Alausa, Ikeja.

She said the government was working with the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Development Bank of South Africa and other developed countries to give birth to the DFI.

Okonjo-Iweala said the  greatest development problem of the country was the lack of institutions.

The minister lamented that for 50 years, Nigeria was run without key institutions, a development she argued, had hampered the development of the country.

Okonjo-Iweala believes that  the DFIs will help bridge the gap in long-term finance to businesses in the country, adding that mortgage institutions have been built.

'We lack long institutions for long term finance. That is why we are developing a wholesale finance institution. We need a wholesale finance institution. This country must build key institutions. We must stop relying on intervention from the government,' she said.

According to her,  DFI will make facilities available for private entrepreneurs to expand their business for a 15-year period.

She noted that no nation grows without strong institutions, lamenting that the country had run for half a century without institutions, noting that  institutions, such as the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Debt Management Office (DMO) were recently created.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala commended the persistence, integrity, honour and the spirit of perseverance displayed by the Group Managing Director of Omatek Computers, Mrs Florence Seriki, urging her to keep the firm flying in spite of the harsh operating environment.

She pledged the Federal Government's support, saying that Omatek Computers was not only helping technology transfer, it is also creating employment opportunities for the youths.

According to her, the Nigeria market is particularly a challenging one, adding that in a nation where the culture of after sales service has not taken firm root, it was exciting to her seeing the professionals that were assembled by the firm to offer after-sales services to customers.