The Bank of Industry (BoI), increased its lending from N65.9 billion in 2016 to N112.5 billion in 2017 as part of its sustained efforts targeted at providing funding and other capacity building supports to the nation’s industrial sector.

Out of the credit, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) got a large chunk of N29.5 billion last year, up from the N8.2 billion they got as credit in the preceding year.

The Chairman of the Governing Board, Mr. Aliyu Dikko, who gave these hints at the bank’s 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held Thursday in Abuja, said that bank was able to record the impressive performance due to its commitment to fiscal discipline and strict observance of good governance principles in all aspects of its operations.

He explained: “In spite of the challenging operating environment, I am pleased to announce that the group’s total assets improved by 4.5 per cent from N682 billion to N713 billion between 2016 and 2017.

“The total equity rose from N219 billion in 2016 to N241 billion in 2017, while Profit before Tax increased from N16.9 billion to N26.3 billion in the same period, a growth of 55.6 per cent. The bank’s disbursement profile in the year improved from N65.9 billion to N112.5 billion.

“Lending to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) also increased significantly to N29.5 billion, when compared to N8.2 billion in 2016”, Dikko added.

While reflecting on the business environment in Sub-Saharan Africa during the year under review, African continent during the year, he noted that the continent recorded economic growth of 2.4 per cent after experiencing a two-decade low of 1.3 per cent in 2016, with three countries namely, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa accounting largely for the recovery.

According to him, the Nigeria’s growth is principally due “to the performance of the agricultural sector, ramp up in the Nigerian oil and gas sector and several economic reforms instituted by the Federal Government.”

He projected that the current fiscal year would be better than the past years for the nation’s economy in view of the efforts of the Federal Government and others to make the business environment more investor-friendly.

Dikko assured that BoI would continue to support MSMEs because they represent “the engine of growth for any economy.’’

In his remarks, the bank’s Managing Director, Mr Olukayode Pitan, restated the bank’s commitment to sustain support for MSMEs as a strategic step towards improving their contributions to the nation’s GDP on a sustainable basis