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Market Digest Nigeria

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3,256 listed as CBN begins N50bn COVID-19 fund disbursement

NIRSAL Microfinance Bank has commenced the disbursement of the Central Bank of Nigeria N50bn Targeted Credit Facility.

The Managing Director, NIRSAL MFB, Mr Abubakar Kure, inaugurated the disbursement of the fund on Thursday in Abuja.

He said a total of 3,256 individuals and businesses that were affected by the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic would benefit under the first tranche of the fund disbursement.

As of April 14, over 80,000 applications had been received from businesses and individuals for the N50bn credit facility

Kure who did not provide the amount given to the 3,256 beneficiaries stated that the bank was committed to ensuring that only individuals and businesses adversely affected by the health crisis would benefit from the fund.

He explained that through the disbursement, those to benefit would resume productive activities as the economy begins a phased reopening after the lockdown.

The NIRSAL MD said, “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.”

The CBN had introduced the N50bn Targeted Credit Facility as a stimulus package to support households and

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 and existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of activities adversely affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the CBN guideline, 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.

Kure warned that while the lockdown had adversely affected the economy, the amount being disbursed was not a grant.

He urged beneficiaries to use the amount for the purpose it was collected for because the bank would ensure that all those who took the loans must repay what they took.

Kure said, “This is not a grant; it is a credit facility intended to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on businesses particularly the  SMEs.

“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.”

The N50bn intervention is being financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund.

In terms of loan limit, the loan 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.

PUNCH

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