CBN begins first batch disbursement of N50bn NIRSAL COVID-19 loan – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Microfinance Bank has begun disbursement of the N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), a stimulus package earmarked to support households and MSMEs ailing from the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic – Apply here!
The Managing Director of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Mr Abubakar Abdullahi Kure who made the disclosure in Abuja at a media briefing to unveil some of the beneficiaries said 3,256 MSMEs were benefiting from the first batch of the disbursement.
According to him, the disbursement will be a weekly occurrence, adding that beneficiaries will come from all parts of Nigeria.
He said: “The N50 billion was earmarked by CBN to incentivize businesses and households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We started disbursing the loan and they will get alert before the end of today.
“I hope it’ll help you restart your ailing businesses as SMEs.
“It’s not a grant but a trade facility to help SMEs battered by COVID-19 come back to operation. SMEs are the engine room of growth of the economy. Once you qualify, you would be given. You don’t need to know anyone in NIRSAL Microfinance Bank or CBN.
“The documentation process is ongoing. We started with Abuja because of convenience. We have 33 branches. Some of them are not functioning optimally because of the lockdown.
“You’re the first set of applicants. I encourage you to pay back so that other people can enjoy the facility”.
On some other of the challenges faced by NIRSAL Microfinance Bank in processing applications for disbursements, Kure said that many applicants are finding it hard to reach the office for interactions.
“We have hiccups as per restrictions of movement. Even to get people to do documentation is also hard. Some of the branches are shut down because of COVID-19”, he added.
On why the firm reduced the amount of money each applicant could get, Kure said the N50 billion cannot go round to all those seeking a slice of it, especially as the number of applications have grown from 80,000 to almost double that figure.
“Resources are dwindling and we reduced the amount given to beneficiaries just to accommodate more people.
“Number of applications have doubled. Some will be taken and some rejected but we have criteria for selection,” he explained.
Based on the CBN guidelines, intending beneficiaries must be households or business concerns with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by
COVID-19; existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of their businesses being vandalized by the pestilence and enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guidelines further noted that activities covered under the scheme include agricultural value chain activities; hospitality (accommodation and food services); health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies); and airline service providers.
Others are manufacturing/value addition; trading and any other income generating activities as may be prescribed by the CBN.