Three weeks after the Central Bank of Nigeria released the guidelines for the N50bn targeted credit facility, over 80,000 applications have so far been received from businesses and individuals.
The Managing Director, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Mr Abubakar Kure, confirmed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
The CBN had introduced the N50bn Targeted Credit Facility as a stimulus package to support households and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the guidelines released by the CBN, those that can benefit from the fund are households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19.
Others are existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the pandemic and enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the pandemic.
According to the CBN guidelines, activities covered under the scheme are 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.
Giving a breakdown of the 80,000 applications, the NIRSAL MD said that 40,000 applications were from households while 30,000 applications were received from the SMEs.
He said from next week, the bank would begin the disbursement of the fund to those who met the criteria set by the apex bank.
Kure, who was accompanied by top officials of the apex bank and NIRSAL said, “We have over 80,000 applications out of which 40,000 came from households while 30,000 were from the SMEs.
“From next week, genuine applicants will start receiving alert for their loans.
“Our people are working remotely and disbursements will start next week.”
On the controversy surrounding the payment of N10,000 for business plan before the loan could be accessed, Kure said the management of the bank had shelved the requirement for business plan.
He said, “The issue of business plan was a requirement for the SME applications as stipulated by the CBN guidelines.
“In order to stem further controversy, the management of the NMFB has resolved that the business plan is no longer a mandatory requirement and the third party provision of a business plan is not compulsory.
“We assure Nigerians of adhering to the guidelines as laid down by the CBN.”
Also speaking at the briefing, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, warned applicants against making payments for business proposal.
He said the CBN and NIRSAL MFB had decided to push on with the intervention programmes in order to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerians.
He warned that the fund was not a grant, adding that beneficiaries of the fund would be made to repay what they collected based on the terms of agreement.
The N50bn intervention is being financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund.
In terms of loan limit, the amount would be determined based on the activity, cash flow and industry size of beneficiary, subject to a maximum of N25m for the SMEs.
Households could access a maximum of N3m while working capital would be a maximum of 25 per cent of the average of the previous three years’ annual turnover.