If nothing is quickly done to avert danger, the Nigerian Economic Recovery Fund (NERFUND) may soon suspend its operations as a result of the large volume of non-performing loans in its books.
NERFUND was set up in 1989 to provide needed medium – to long-term financing to viable Small and Medium scale production enterprises. The grand objectives are to increase the quantum of goods and services available for local consumption and export, provide needed employment, expand our production base and add value to the economy. At a recent meeting with the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Managing Director of NERFUND, Mr Ezekiel Oseni, urged the anti-graft agency boss to help it recover about N17.5 billion in loans it had given.
Mr Oseni lamented that NERFUND can no longer support entrepreneurs owing to the fact that the agency gave out loans of N1.5 billion yet to be repaid. According him, small customers who collected between N1 million and N2 million have started repaying, but those who received over N50 million loans were yet to repay. The NERFUND boss blamed the large volume of non-performing loans on the absence of collateral on loans taken by people close to politically exposed persons. “Some of these big customers borrowed this money without collateral through the influence of politicians and they don’t want to pay back because they feel its government money,” he said.