Home Economy Priortise disbursement of N220bn intervention fund, SMEs urge CBN

Priortise disbursement of N220bn intervention fund, SMEs urge CBN

by Business News Report

Some Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have appealed to the new governor of the Central Bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to promptly disburse the N220 billion intervention fund for operators.

In interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos, some SMEs associations have urged Emefiele to release the fund to enable them utilise it in the second half of the year. Mrs Lola Okanlawon, President, NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), said the establishment of the fund in August 2013 raised the hope of many entrepreneurs who had been obtaining loans at high interest rates.

“However, the delay in the disbursement of the fund has got everyone disappointed. We hope that all the barriers against prompt disbursement of the fund would be removed soon. We laud President Jonathan for his efforts to boost small and medium enterprises; some of our members benefited from the YOUWIN project, but more needs to be done.” she said. Mr Segun Kuti-George, the Chairman, Lagos chapter, Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI),  also appealed to the CBN governor to give priority to the disbursement of the fund.

“We want the governor to priotise the disbursement of the fund to enhance efforts to Most banks have been paying lip service to the assistance they claim to grant to SMEs because they have stringent conditions that our members cannot meet. We laud President Goodluck Jonathan for the initiative and believe that the disbursement of the fund would assist so many ailing businesses to bounce back, while creating more jobs”, he said.

Mr Eze Ubiji, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), expressed optimism that the new governor of CBN would disburse the intervention fund soon.

According to him, there are some conditions that have to be met to ensure smooth disbursement of the fund in line with the country’s revised Microfinance Policy Regulatory and Supervisory framework. “One of the major reasons I think the disbursement of the fund has been delayed is because of the collateral issues that is prominent in accessing loans in Nigerian banks. The new governor of CBN mentioned that Collateral Registries Committee was being set up so that it would make it easier for more SMEs to access loans under a secured collateral system, but so many business owners are not aware.

“What I mean is that some women may have gold jewellery worth millions at home, but will be running here and there in search of collateral in form of property or land which they don’t have. So, we urge the committee to promptly come out with favourable policies and ways through which accessing loans would be made easier so that the intervention funds that are available would be disbursed on time,” he said.

Mr Onoja Usman, Managing Director, Lovonus Microfinance Bank Ltd., recently said that most microfinance banks might not be able to access the fund.

Usman said that this was due to the stringent criteria the CBN had laid down for accessing the fund. He said that most microfinance banks were struggling to shore up their capital to meet the financial requirements and this might delay the disbursement if the conditions were not made more flexible. The CBN and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) recently directed that prospective microfinance banks and finance companies must comply with the prevailing regulatory capital requirements and prudential ratios.

Others conditions are average deposit growth rate of 20 per cent per annum for institutions that have been operating for over two years and average clientele base growth rate of 20 per cent per annum. Sound risk management framework, corporate governance, adherence to sound ethical values and the degree of separation of ownership from control management are also part of the conditions.

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