The Central Bank of Nigeria through NIRSAL Microfinance Bank has commenced the disbursement of the Central Bank of Nigeria N50bn COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility.
According to NIRSAL MFB Managing Director, Mr Abubakar Kure, a total of 3,256 individuals and businesses that were negatively affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic would benefit under the first batch of the fund disbursement.
At the inauguration of the disbursement of the fund on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Abubakar Kure explained that beneficiaries would resume productive activities as the economy begins a gradual reopening as the lockdown is being eased
“The idea of this fund is to provide cash flow owing to the lockdown and the restrictions in movement of people.
“The flag-off is intended to provide liquidity following cash flow issues as a result of the negative impact of COVID-19.”
On 16 March, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced along with other measures the creation of N50 billion target credit facility for affected households and small and medium enterprises as part of the Federal Government’s intervention policy to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), subsequently released Guidelines for the Implementation of the (the Scheme. According to the guidelines, those that can benefit from the fund are households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19 and existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of activities adversely affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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
The scheme has a loan limit of maximum of N25m for the SMEs, N3m for Households and working of 25 per cent of the average of the previous three years’ annual turnover, all based on the activity, cash flow and industry size of beneficiary.
Based on this, NIRSAL MFB Managing Director said that as at April 14, over 80,000 applications had been received from businesses and individuals for the N50bn credit facility. Out of the number, 3,256 individuals and businesses were selected to benefit.
Concerning the credit repayment, the NIRSAL MD, warned that the amount being disbursed was not a grant but a loan to be paid pack and urged beneficiaries to use the amount for the purpose for which it was collected since the bank would ensure that all those who took the loans repay what they took.
“This is not a grant; it is a credit facility intended to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on businesses particularly the SMEs”; Kure said.
He continued by saying that “The SMEs are the engine of any economy because they provide employment and taxes to government.
“We urge people to apply. You don’t need to know anybody before you apply and once you qualify, you will be given the loan.”