GROUP SEEKS BETTER ACCESSIBILITY FOR SMES’ INTERVENTION FUNDS
Social Development Integrated Centre has said that for the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention programme to be effective and achieve its aim, it is important for the Apex Bank to immediately revise the scheme to take care of the poorest households who operate in the informal sector. The group said in a statement that to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, the CBN announced the release of N50bn Targeted Credit Facility.
It stated, “Under the guidelines for implementation cum disbursement of the fund as released by the CBN on March 23, 2020, on the eligibility of participants, the scheme focuses on households or enterprise with verifiable evidence of livelihoods adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; “While this in itself may not be exactly out of order, it, however, limits the ability of the vast majority of Nigerian households or enterprises that are not operating as registered business, but of which all the same had thriving sources of livelihoods to access such fund for stated purposes.”
The group also said there was a need for the process of disbursement of the credit to be diversified instead of making just one institution, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, to be the sole-manager of the N50bn funds. “If the scheme is indeed to achieve its intended and stated goals, then the CBN should as a matter of necessity, review the collateral requisitions and conditions tied to the intervention funds in a manner that is indicative and reflective of government’s understanding of the COVID-19-inflicted difficulties on people and businesses in the country,” it stated.
It added that the CBN’s guidelines for implementation of the scheme showed some considerations to help cushion some of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on business by making provision for a one-year moratorium in case businesses affected by the virus outbreak were not be able to repay their loans. The group added that, however, this did not adequately address some post COVID-19 challenges the businesses might face.