The Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BOI), Olukayode Pitan, came under fire in Senate Wednesday for not knowing identities of beneficiaries of loans given out by the Bank across the country.
The BOI boss ran into trouble while making submissions before the Senate Committee on Industry for 2022 budget defence.
Mr Pitan in his comments on loans given out by the Bank, claimed that they don’t know the loan beneficiaries, but the destination of the loan.
He said the loans are secured through bank guarantees provided by commercial banks on behalf of the beneficiaries.
“Loans are given to commercial banks that provide guarantees, which then forwarded the money to the beneficiaries,” he said.
Angered by his submission, the trio of Senators Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC Bauchi North), Christopher Ekpenyong (PDP Akwa Ibom North West) and Danjuma La’ah (PDP Kaduna South) , said that they are in dark about the activities of Bank of Industry in their Senatorial Districts .
Senator Danjuma in particular said, “I don’t know what is going on with Bank of Industry activities in my Senatorial district.”
Also, Senator Ekpenyong in reaction lamented that most of his Senatorial district members are unable to access loans from Bank of Industry adding Union Bank and United Bank of Africa (UBA) do not give Bank Gurantee to his people.
In addition, Senator Bulkachuwa said, “The MD/CEO, you made comments while trying to answer my questions on the distribution’s of loan 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.
“Does it mean that the Bank of Industry does not know where the loans are going to and where the actual beneficiaries are located in the country?
“If you don’t know , 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 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 the bank of industry is performing its duty in terms of ensuring that industries are spread across the country.”
Mr. Pitan however responded by saying, “The Senator misunderstood me. BOI knows where our money is. We know where every kobo goes to but not the beneficiaries because we are not the one determining 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 the bank of industry that we on our own, don’t analyse. It is a requirement every month for the bank of industry to provide the document. We know exactly where our monies are.”
The Committee chaired by Senator Tokunbo Abiru (APC Lagos East), also expressed dissatisfaction to meagre allocation for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises which are the real driver of economy in 2021 budget.
The Bank of Industry in 2021 budget released N165 billion to large enterprises in the country while Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises benefited N40 billion as at September, 2021.
But the Managing Director of BOI while defending the meagre allocation Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises said most people in that level are not ready to repay the loan believing that the money is government money and they don’t have to pay it back.