Popoola Wants Role for Credit Bureau in CBN’s Intervention Fund Disbursement

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Maduabuchi Ubani

The access, impact and prospects of the intervention funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) formed the basis of discussion at a recent webinar organised by the CRC Credit Bureau.

The webinar was part of the firm’s CSR initiative that serves as an avenue to enlighten members of the public on issues around financial literacy and the Bank’s policies.

The Managing Director/ CEO, CRC Credit Bureau, Dr. ‘Tunde Popoola, said: “As at now most of the intervention funds, especially by the state governments are disbursed without reference to the credit bureaus. Even after disbursement, such data are not submitted to the credit bureaus.

“What happens is that wrong people or non-targeted platforms may be the beneficiaries of the intervention funds”
Popoola further advocated that data of beneficiaries be submitted to the credit bureau, saying it would help in collection and repayment, alongside improve access to non-government funds for credit beneficiaries as well as instill discipline to the repayment process.

Presenting the intervention funds as one of the key mandate of the CBN, Dr. Chinedu Zephaniah, of its Development Finance Department, said the Bank was positioned to promote a sound financial system, stimulate key sectors and facilitate investment in critical infrastructure that will assist development alongside deployment of finance to specific focal centres.

For him, the grand aim of development financing is to increase impact, achieve employment elasticity in some sectors of the economy and diversify the economic base of the economy.

“Our focus is on agriculture, manufacturing, specialised products for MSMEs, infrastructure and then power. These are the sectors that when we intervene, we have a wider range of effects to the economy.

“In all, CBN has disbursed over N1.5 trillion in terms of facilities. CBN will continue to focus on the priority sectors of the economy using particularly agriculture and manufacturing through a range of direct policy and indirect policy interventions, alongside direct funding of these sectors.
“We will take advantage of the COVID-19 and turn its difficulties into opportunities,” he explained.

Presenting fund management and project implementation as some of the duties of Bank of Industry, the Executive Director of Bank of Industry, Mr. Simon Araronu, during his session moved on to explain that BOI also plays a monetary role in overseeing that the funds are returned back to the fund owner, the CBN as at when due.

According to Araronu, the four core intervention funds managed at the BoI include power and airline, SMes, industry finds and textile intervention funds.
“Following the COVID-19 development, there was need for palliative. CBN was very proactive and offered a reduction in interest rate.

“Right now, the interest rate for the aforementioned intervention funds have gone down from nine per cent to five per cent for one year.
“The idea behind it is to provide palliative to players in this sector. For projects under implementation, CBN granted a one-year extension of moratorium from March 1, to February 28, 2021,” he added.