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*Say bank keeps changing requirements

By Yinka Kolawole

APPLICANTS of the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme of the Bank of Industry (BoI) have lamented that, months after completing the rigorous online and in-class training aspect of the scheme, they have not been able to access any loan from the bank.

Their complaints are in response to a recent report in Vanguard on the experiences of beneficiaries of the programme, where they highlighted the impact of the scheme on their business orientation. The applicants claimed that while the training they under-went in various centres and online were very enriching, accessing the loans thereafter has proved to be a herculean task, contrary to the promise made by BoI officials during the training. Here are some of the complainants and their complaints:

Samuel Temidayo: “Why the waste of time, money and resources? If you had no intention of making access to financing easier and better than the conventional bottlenecks in commercial banks, why waste over N800,000 in training each YES Programme participant, multiplied by the 2500 individuals that scaled through to the final stage? We went through 3 months of online training and had remarkable exposure to the real business environment only to be thrown between the buses when we were all girded and ready to apply everything we have learnt.

“I had my in-training at the EDC headquarter in Lagos and was opportune to hear from the MD of BOI that there’s enough money for all the 2500 successful candidates for the in-class. We were however shocked to see new sets of conditions, after the first set we were given on concluding the in-class. From then, new and more ridiculous conditions were been introduced like every other week. To be honest, this loan has not been accessed by a single person in my group, I don’t know about all other groups and state.”

Oyetunji G. Abbey: “BoI has been so lackadaisical about this scheme even after the stringent conditions introduced after the entire 4 months training. We struggled to meet these conditions but yet, no update, no loan! I applied for a loan of about N5 million. I’m not a start-up, my business has been running, but my loan was reduced to N2.7 million and several months after this notification of my loan reduction, I didn’t get any update from BoI.

The cost of one of my proposed machinery I gave them, a delivery bike precisely, was N270,000 in the market, 3 months down the line with this lackadaisical attitude, the machinery went up to N350,000 and now I don’t even know the current price of that machine. This would have happened to so many other applicants as well. The most annoying thing is no follow up, no information and no news.

Economic development

BoI should learn from the Lagos State Empowerment Trust Fund (LSETF). That is how an empowerment scheme should be run. Not putting people on hold for almost 12 months without any headway.”

Dielamo Oyeghe: “I had thought the YES programme would be a stepping stone to achieving my entrepreneurial dreams and contribute my quota to the economic development of the country.

My dream is fading away due to the high-handedness of BoI. Good 10 months has passed and am still unable to access the loan due to the stringent conditions set by the bank. Initially, we were told that our University certificate and NYSC discharge letter could be used as collateral, only surprised to learn of impossible requirements to fulfill at the point of the in-class training. We went through vigorous and stressful 3-months online training and 5-days in-class training. Resources and time was drained in the process. I spent money buying data for the online training, traveled to Port Harcourt for the in-class training where I also fed and accommodated myself. I hereby call for a review or total scrap of the loan conditions. It is a good initiative, but effort must be made to fast-track the loan disbursement process.”

Joe Onyeka: The way BoI is handling this programme, I doubt if they will achieve up to 10 percent of the aim of this program. I thought this is an intervention program to create 6000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs but 11 months after we applied for the programme and 4 months after the in-house training, I don’t think that up to 90 percent of the participants have met the criteria for the loan which means just less than 10 percent have submitted their requirements to BOI. Even those ones that have submitted, none of them have received the loan from the response I have been getting from the participants from the various WhatsApp groups.

The programme started well, the online training was thorough and impactful. However, accessing the loan is problematic. For instance, in the work sheet given to us at the onset, the guarantor required was a Level 7 officer in the civil service. But on applying for the loan, they now changed it to Level 12, which has not been easy to get. Even at that, nobody has been able to access the loan.

No comment from BoI

BoI is yet to respond to these allegations, as an SMS sent to a top official in the corporate affairs department of the bank has not been replied as at the time of writing this report.


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