News Column

CBN Begins Disbursement of N220 Billion SMEs Fund August

July 25, 2014

Hamisu Muhammad

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has concluded plans to commence the disbursement of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises loans to qualified beneficiaries in August.

CBN governor Mr Goodwin Emefiele said this yesterday while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some state governors in Abuja. He said the loan will attract a single digit interest rate and will be strictly monitored.

Emefiele said President Goodluck Jonathan will formally launch the disbursement of the fund next month.

He said the fund will be applied toward supporting the financing needs of the people at the lower level of the pyramid. "And I believe that if properly applied it will lead to transformation and economic development of Nigeria," he added.

"The important thing is that we are going to ensure that the fund gets to the beneficiaries without impediments and wherever we find any impediment on the way we will remove it," he added.

The apex bank governor said the MSMEs have been proved the world over as engine for the growth of economies, boosting production, generating income, and reducing poverty. "Despite these recognitions, the SMEs in Nigeria have never received adequate financing," he also noted.

"The SMEs loan will be disbursed through commercial banks, micro finance banks and finance houses while the state governments will be able to access up to N2 billion each to enable beneficiaries who participated in their various initiatives to benefit."

According to Emefiele, 50 per cent of the total loan is dedicated to women and that CBN will undertake regular check on the efficiency of the fund application.

Speaking at the ceremony, Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Godswill Akpabio, urged the apex bank to consider reducing some of the huddles in the disbursement of the fund to the beneficiaries in order to save time.

He congratulated the CBN governor on his appointment and promised to apply the fund to the real beneficiaries.

Also speaking, Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola, said there is need for government at all levels to prioritise the issue of job creation for the teaming unemployed youths.

According to him, one of the easiest ways of providing job opportunities in his state is the ongoing school feeding project which provides good and delicious meal to over 300,000 school children and at the same time providing jobs to thousands of youths in the state.

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Source: AllAfrica

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