How has the bank contributed to economic diversification in recent years?
BOI's mandate is to provide financial assistance for large, medium, and small projects and help the expansion, diversification, and modernization of existing enterprises and the rehabilitation of failing ones. This fits in with the government's diversification drive by leveraging its competitive resources in non-oil sectors, such as agriculture, solid minerals, renewable energy, and the creative and entertainment industries. In the past year, we enhanced our lending profile to provide finances to more Nigerian businesses. This led to an intensive capital-raising drive in the past year that saw BOI raise over USD1 billion, both locally and internationally.
How has BOI helped promote the “Made in Nigeria" brand?
Buying locally produced goods and services has played an important role in boosting several economies around the world. The case is no different for Nigeria. BOI's efforts to promote the “Made in Nigeria" brand have been all encompassing. We have a partnership with the Dangote Foundation to disburse NGN5 billion (USD16.6 million) to support enterprises engaged in the agro-processing, manufacturing, and trading of Nigerian-made goods. The bank also collaborated with Co Creation Hub (CcHUB), Venture Garden Group, and Omidyar Network in 2016 to launch the USD1-million CcHUB Growth Capital Fund to support indigenous 'next generation infrastructure' technology builders by making early-stage venture equity investments into their businesses. BOI continues to promote “Made in Nigeria" products through schemes such as our Aba Finished Leather Goods Cluster Financing Program. The bank also creates marketplace opportunities for local producers to showcase their products at international trade fairs and events.
BOI is among the few players providing funding to Nigeria's entertainment industry. What interest do you have in this sector?
The local entertainment industry is projected to grow annually at an average rate of 12.1% between 2016 and 2021, making it the world's fastest-growing entertainment industry. The industry's contribution to the economy is expected to reach USD8.1 billion in 2019, creating significant jobs and FDI opportunities. Nollywood produces around 2,500 movies a year, making it the second-largest global production hub behind India. The industry also provides employment to over 1 million Nigerians. The Nigerian music industry is perhaps a greater success story. In terms of economic contribution, total music revenue in Nigeria reached about USD39 million in 2016, representing a 9% growth YoY, and the industry is projected to grow to about USD73 million by 2021. BOI has been at the forefront of financing the industry with competitive interest rates of below 10% and relatively long repayment periods. To date, the bank has disbursed over NGN13.2 billion (USD37.8 million) to 60 projects across various sub-sectors of the creative industry ecosystem, including content production, distribution and production infrastructure, hospitality and culinary, media and publishing, recreation centers and parks, exhibition arenas and merchandising, sports infrastructure, and arts and crafts. Being an emerging sector, BOI devised an innovative approach to effectively appraise projects from the sector by setting up a team of industry veterans to be part of loan request review process. Our efforts in the industry have not gone unrecognized, as BOI has received several awards both locally and internationally.
What is your outlook for BOI in 2019?
We closed 2018 with a balance sheet of over NGN1 trillion (USD2.735 billion), and I expect that to increase to NGN1.3 trillion (USD3.556 billion) by 2019. Our policies are aligned with the key objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). Consequently, in 2019 we expect to increase our provision of lower interest rate loans, provide innovative financing solutions, and increase business advisory services to stimulate growth of enterprises, particularly SMEs. We also want to support women and youth entrepreneurship and identify projects that can stimulate export earnings through the production of high-quality goods that can compete in the international markets. This would eventually reduce imports and support local content development.