The Bank of Industry (BOI) on Tuesday in Lagos unveiled five mobile-telephone applications to boost the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa, the Managing Director, BOI, who inaugurated the products, said that the applications were aimed at improving the services of the bank to SMEs.
According to Olaoluwa, the five products include: the SME Mobile App, SME Accounting application software (SAApp), Online Loan Application Portal, Loan Application Tracking system, and SME Customer Portal.
“The mobile application is to provide members of the public, especially entrepreneurs, easy access to information and process their applications easily on their mobile phones.
“We are leveraging on the 85 per cent rate of tele-density of the country, giving that about 145.3 million Nigerians are active users of mobile devices.
“The applications can be obtained by simply downloading from Google Play Store for Android phones and tablets, Application World for blackberry and Application Store for iPhones and iPads.
“It is easy to use in view of its user-friendly features that make it pleasing to the eyes and fun to browse, while also serving as a power house for SME-centric information and loan tracking tool,” he said.
Olaoluwa also said that the offering of the accounting application , SAApp, was a major need for SMEs ; recalling that one of their major weaknesses was poor record-keeping and weak financial management.
He urged SMEs to embrace the applications, as it was cheaper and more effective than hiring the services of accountants, which most of them could not afford.
Olaoluwa said that the App was a do-it-yourself kind of application that only demanded the input of data by the SME owner, while the system did the calculations.
He also said that the online loan application and tracking system would allow for less cumbersome process of applying for loans and tracking the stage the application was at each point.
“The online loan application has been created for the convenience of the of the BOI’s prospective SME customers in the sense that they do not need to come physically to the bank to process their loans.
“It is obviously advantageous in shortening the Turn Around Time (TAT) of the loans, and it also consists of the other tracking system application, which can be used without having to bother any of the staff,” he said.
Olaoluwa said that BOI had uploaded more than 400 customers out of about 2,500 under the BOI on the SME Customer Portal.
He said that the bank would be uploading the profiles and pictures of all customers on gradual basis.
The bank’s chief executive also said that the customer-portal would afford the customers a platform to be publicised on the website, and also for potential entrepreneurs to get ideas on what businesses to do, following the published success stories.
He urged SMEs nationwide to embrace the digital products in order to ease their businesses and place them in position for better opportunities, while urging the media to spread the information.
He pledged a continuous collaboration with all stakeholders and sister agencies to further place the growth of SMEs on the front burner in the country. (NAN)
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