By NBF News

ABUJA - The Federal Government, yesterday, approved increased capitalisation for Bank of Industry, BoI, even as President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Ministry of Trade and Investments and Minister of Finance to work out  modalities for shoring up the capital of the bank.

Jonathan, at the commissioning of BoI head office in Abuja and remodelling of its Lagos office, mandated the CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga and Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to work out modalities for the recapitalisation of the bank.

He stated:  'We shall accelerate the recapitalisation of BoI and open up the bank's equity for development and to enable it focus on foreign institutional investors who will maintain the bank's developmental mandate.

'I have already directed the Ministry of Finance and CBN Governor to work with the Minister of Trade and Investments to make sure that the Bank of Industry is fully capitalised. If our vision and hope that Nigeria will play big globally by 2020 will be realised, we need a bank that will be so dedicated to funding industrial sector, especially agriculture.

'The Federal Government, on its part, will continue to give the BoI all the support it needs to continue to play its pivotal role in the industrialisation of Nigeria. We shall ensure that the bank's corporate governance practice for operational policies and procedures are in line with international best practices to enable it attain the top needed to mobilise the most needed financial and technical resources we need to fast-track the transition of our industrial sector.

'This has become imperative since due to other competing priority, particularly in social services that lack the capacity to generate income, the government alone cannot meet the financial investment required of the bank.

'I am quite please with what the bank has been able to achieve so far. In the light of the concept and the purpose of BoI, it is on the basis of this that l have directed that from next year, our national budget must be fully implemented to enable us attain our objective.'

Speaking earlier, Minister of Trade and Investments, Mr. Aganga, said the BoI had been able to successfully weather the storm in the last one decade, in spite of the difficult operating environment.

Aganga noted:  'It is gratifying to note that in the last 10 years, the Bank of Industry has, despite the challenging operating environment, recorded appreciable strides in pursuit of its mandate and its evolution into a strong, dynamic and flexible development finance institution that proactively responds to the needs of entrepreneurs in Nigeria.'

On her part, BoI Managing Director, Ms Evelyn Oputu, said the bank did not borrow money to erect and reconstruct its Abuja and Lagos offices, which were completed within two years.

She said: 'In 2007, the institution commenced construction of its 12-storey corporate office complex in Abuja which was build from scratch and completed in two years and also the remodeling of the 24th storey building that was allocated to it by the federal government along the Marina, Lagos in place of its erstwhile head office on Broad street that collapsed after a fire incident in March 2006.

She said:  'These projects were completed during the current year which incidentally marks the tenth anniversary of the Bank's establishment.

'The high income generated from these investments will cushion the low returns from the bank's core business. This strategy is consistence with those of the world most successful financial institutions which explore opportunities to build up their equity and endowment.'

With a shareholding structure of 58.86 percent by Ministry of Finance Incorporated, MOFI; Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, 41.12 percent and 0.02 percent equity held by 43 private shareholders , the bank had since inception, approved 1,435 loans and investment totaling N165.74 billion, with considerable developmental impact, while its group profit before tax rose by 2,355 percent to N2.578 billion in 2010 from N105.36 million in 2005.'