•Disbursement begins next week
Ndubisi Francis in Abuja
No fewer than 80,000 loan seekers have applied for the N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a stimulus package to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The objective of the facility is to allow firms to remain afloat, ensure that people stay employed as well as to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
The Managing Director of Nirsal Micro Finance Bank (NMFB), which is disbursing the special facility, Mr. Abubakar Kure, told journalists yesterday in Abuja that so far, 80,000 applications had been received from households and MSMEs.
Kure stated that 40,000 of the applicants were households, adding that the microfinance bank was already processing the applications with disbursements billed to commence next week.
He, however, added that the loan was not a grant but repayable.
According to him, the submission of a business plan is no longer a mandatory requirement to benefit from the loan and CBN does not charge application fees.
Kure noted that in order to stem further controversy over alleged payment of fees to access the fund, NMFB had resolved that business plan would no longer be a mandatory requirement, while the third party provision of a business plan is no longer compulsory.
He added: “We assure Nigerians of adhering to the guidelines as laid down by the Central Bank of Nigeria and NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank welcomes statement applications from credible businesses and households to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and consequently continue to accept the business plans people submit independently.”
Also speaking at the press briefing, CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said the apex bank was not charging any extra apart from the maximum nine per cent interest, which encompasses all charges.
He stated that the process was being ramped up to enable people to access the facility quickly and appealed for patience and support to ensure the success of the programme.
The apex bank had in a statement on Monday debunked social media reports that loan seekers and owners of small-scale businesses who apply for the loans are required to pay a certain amount as application processing fee.
CBN said: “For the avoidance of doubt, there are clearly spelt out procedures for accessing the N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) stimulus package to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the COVID-19.”
It urged members of the public, particularly households and owners of small-scale businesses, to disregard any message requiring them to pay to process their applications.