Senators, BOI Differ Over Loan Beneficiaries
Members of the Senate Committee on Industry on Wednesday clashed with officials of the Bank of Industry (BOI) over the beneficiaries of its loans for businesses.
The Managing Director of BOI, Olukayode Pitan, appeared before the committee to defend the agency’s 2022 budget.
However, trouble started when the Mr Pitan claimed that BOI had no knowledge of the loan beneficiaries.
He said the loans were secured through bank guarantees provided by commercial banks on behalf of the beneficiaries, explaining that loans were given to commercial banks that provided guarantees, which then forwarded the money to the beneficiaries.
His submission did not go down well with the lawmakers who claimed that many of their constituents were not benefiting from the bank’s loans because of the stringent requirements.
Senator Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP, Akwa Ibom) lamented that his constituents were unable to access loans due to the refusal of commercial banks to give bank guarantees to them.
In addition, Senator Bulkachuwa said, “The MD/CEO, you made comments while trying to answer my questions on the distribution of loans to beneficiaries. You actually said that you were not in the position to know exactly where these loans are going to with regards to the geopolitical areas of the country. We are interested in knowing where those loans go to.
“You, the giver of the loan, should be more interested in the loan and where each kobo you give out is going to and which part of the country is benefiting. You should be able to know. You should not leave it for the commercial banks to handle alone.
“Our interest is to know how BOI is performing its duty in terms of ensuring that industries are spread across the country.”
Mr Pitan, however, said, “The senator misunderstood me. BOI knows where our money is. We know where every kobo goes to. I was actually answering a question on whether we are the one that determines the beneficiaries.
“The commercial banks are the ones that give guarantees because they are the ones that would finalise the process. They determine where the loans go, but there is no loan that goes out of BOI that we on our own don’t analyse. It is a requirement every month for BOI to provide the document. We know exactly where our monies are.”