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N50bn COVID-19 Fund: CBN kicks off disbursement to 3,256 beneficiaries



CBN increases capital base for Microfinance banks by 900%

The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Microfinance Bank has begun the disbursement of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility,.

The fund isaimed at supporting households and businesses severely affected by COVID-19.

Abubakar Kure, the Managing Director of NIRSAL MFB, who launched the disbursement on Thursday in Abuja, said 3,256 individuals and businesses would benefit from the first phase of the disbursement.

More than 80,000 requests had been received by NIRSAL, the facilitator of the scheme, on 14th April 2020.

The NIRSAL boss did not disclose the value of the credit allocated under the first tranche but said the bank was passionate about disbursing the fund only to individuals and businesses terribly affected by the pandemic.

According to Mr Kure, the fund would afford beneficiaries the chance to continue productive activities when the economy gradually reopens after the lockdown.

Read also: Investment in real sector declined by $7.89bn in Q1 –NIPC Report

“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.”

Households and businesses seeking to benefit from the fund are to provide verifiable proofs of being severely affected by COVID-19 according to the criteria released by the CBN.

Areas covered by the guideline include agricultural value chain, health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies), airline services, hospitality (accommodation and food services), trading, manufacturing/value addition and other income-generating endeavours as prescribed by the CBN.

“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 NIRSAL boss said.

The maximum accessible amount under the scheme will be decided on the basis of cash flow and industry size of beneficiaries subject to a limit of N25 million for SMEs.

The limit for households is N3 million while the working capital will be a maximum of 25% of the average last three years annual turnover.

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