The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Tuesday that it had disbursed the sum of N60bn from the N220bn Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund. The Special Adviser to the CBN Governor on Development Finance, Mr. Paul Eluhaiwe, gave the figure during the commencement of the disbursement of the fund to physically challenged people in Abuja.
The N220bn MSME fund, which was launched in August last year, has 60 per cent earmarked for providing financial services to women in order to address their peculiar financial exclusion circumstances. Based on the guidelines of the fund, each state of the federation will be able to access the sum of N2bn, which will be given to beneficiaries at an interest rate of nine per cent. Also, two per cent of the fund, representing about N4.4bn, is to be made available for economically active but physically challenged entrepreneurs.
Addressing journalists shortly after the commencement of the disbursement on Tuesday, Eluhaiwe said contrary to claims in some quarters that the fund was not being disbursed, the central bank had been making it available to entrepreneurs who met the laid down conditions. He said while the criteria might be stringent, the CBN was just being careful in order to ensure that those who actually got the fund had the ability to pay back.
Eluhaiwe added, “There are conditions for microfinance banks to meet before they can assess the fund, and entrepreneurs also have to meet the conditions before the fund can be disbursed to them. So, it takes a lot of rigor to put on the table resources for entrepreneurs to use. As we speak, we have disbursed over N60bn out of this fund. “We don’t want to make mistakes; we want to disburse the fund and make sure people pay back for others to assess the fund.
The CBN will take what it takes to disburse the fund because we are dealing with banking and we want to make the fund sustainable.” He urged the physically challenged who benefitted from the fund to make efficient use of it, adding that the central bank’s objective to ensure financial inclusion was responsible for the move. inShare