BOI Plans To Boost Rural Businesses’ Access To Capital

By Clement Alphonsus
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Dr Olasupo Olusi (Director and Chief Executive Officer of BOI)

The Bank of Industry (BOI) has disclosed the launch of the Rural Area Programme on Investment and Development (RAPID) initiative to mitigate rural-urban migration by empowering rural communities with access to capital, further targeting businesses of youths and women in these underserved areas.

According to the Director and Chief Executive Officer of BOI, Dr Olasupo Olusi, RAPID is designed to foster economic inclusion by providing rural dwellers with equitable access to capital.

He stated that this access to capital is crucial for engaging in commercial and economic activities and addressing the inadequacies in existing intervention programmes that primarily favour urban centres.

Olusi explained that the initiative offers substantial financial support, with potential funding up to N10 million per project and the terms include a three-year repayment plan with a six-month moratorium at a concessionary interest rate of five per cent.

He said, “As a pilot launch, it is limited to 10 beneficiaries per state and FCT, totalling 370 beneficiaries. The grant component is developed to incentivize good repayment and businesses with significant social impact in employment generation for women and youth."

Speaking further, the Executive Director of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises at BOI, Omar Shekarau, explained that RAPID would cover all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), focusing on sectors like agriculture, textiles, garment manufacturing, leather goods, and food processing and preservation.

He stressed that this comprehensive coverage ensures that the benefits of economic growth are felt across the country, transforming rural areas into burgeoning economic hubs.

Shekarau further stressed that the programme not only represents a significant investment in Nigeria’s rural economies but also serves as a model for future initiatives aiming to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development across West Africa.