The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), to take advantage of the Bank of Industry (BoI) single-digital loans to access loans below N10 million.
Mrs Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for the ministry made the call in Enugu at the opening of the 31st Enugu International Trade Fair.
Katagum said this had become necessary because the loans were accessed without collateral.
“Our SMEs should take advantage of the soft and single-digit loan being offered by the BoI to grow and expand their businesses since the SMEs is the engine of growth of any successful economy,’’ she said.
The minister pledged to assist the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA) to create more awareness and bring more Federal ministries, departments and agencies to exhibit and participate in subsequent fairs.
On the development of the fair permanent site, Katagum said the Federal Government would use Public Private Partnership (PPP) model in the development of the complex.
Katagum explained that it was only PPP model that would assure the facilitation as well as future development and maintenance of the complex.
The minister said that the federal government took its cue from the abandoned Lagos Trade Fair Complex which had fallen into disuse.
“Given the Lagos Trade Fair Complex experience, where the complex is unkempt and unwanted shops rising in the complex and the people abandoning it and having trade fairs at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Lagos Island.
“Again, given government scarce resources and a lot of competing demands on it; the PPP becomes the best option for now.
“The ministry needs to meet and discuss with ECCIMA to see how to use PPP model to push the intended work here.
“From the experiences so far, PPP will help to sustain, maintain and see to the functionality of the complex for a very long time,’’ she said.
Earlier, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, the President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), commended ECCIMA and the Enugu State government for putting up a successful fair.
Aliyu, who was represented by Mr Ide Udeagbala, first Deputy National President of NACCIMA, called on South-East governors to continue to partner with the Federal Government to ensure even development of the rural areas.
She also urged companies and SMEs to take precautionary stance against the corona virus pandemic by joining the government at all levels to protect their workers and ensure continuous production.
“I enjoin you to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the fair to create national and international linkages and sales for your products and services,’’ she advised.
In a welcome address, President of ECCIMA, Chief Emeka Nwandu, said the fair remained a veritable tool for the advancement of individual, corporate and national business ingenuity.
“I wish all stakeholders particularly exhibitors and participants huge success and realisation of set targets in this fair,’’ Nwandu said.
ECCIMA had scheduled the 31st Enugu International Trade Fair to start from March 13 to March 23 at the Trade-Far Complex, Golf Estate, GRA Enugu.
This year’s fair theme is; “Advancing the Growth of SMEs through Corporate Governance for Rapid Economic Development”’.