CBN N220 Billion Fund: Here’s why entrepreneurs cannot access it

CBN N220 Billion Fund: Here’s why entrepreneurs cannot access it

In the twilight of the year 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria in a move to give financial succor to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in the country, launched a N220 billion MSME Development Fund. The fund, which was launched in August, had 60% (132 billion) reserved for providing financial services to women in order

In the twilight of the year 2014, the Central Bank of Nigeria in a move to give financial succor to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in the country, launched a N220 billion MSME Development Fund. The fund, which was launched in August, had 60% (132 billion) reserved for providing financial services to women in order to address their financial exclusion circumstances. Well, that is a story for another day.

Ever since its launch last year, little or nothing has been heard about how to access this much-needed fund; CBN claims to have disbursed some of the money, yet no MSME beneficiary has come out to acknowledge the reception of the said fund. Could CBN be lying?

According to the report of an investigation conducted by an MSME –focused group called MSME-ASI, it has been revealed that in truth, the Central Bank of Nigeria did release a total of N39,098 billion to 23 states of the federation. The disbursements are as follow:

MSME fund
The report further revealed that CBN officials decided to work against the guidelines of the fund to disburse the money directly to state governors. The original guideline stipulated by CBN dictates that banks from each state of the federation be given the fund, which will then be doled out to beneficiaries at an interest of nine per cent. Rather than disburse to banks on behalf of applicants as mandated in the guideline, state governors got direct disbursement and chose to sit on it.What then happened? Where are these funds?

What does this mean?

The attar of foul play is strong here and the MSMED fund is about to join countless other funds under the carpet of mismanagement, embezzlement, corruption, call it anything. Only recently, states such as Taraba, Enugu and Akwa Ibom that have received fund since January, June, and March respectively are just calling for applications some weeks ago.

Way forward?

It is therefore, imperative now, to begin to demand these disbursed funds from state governors that have received their quota. Hence, applicants from the states above are advised to go to appropriate microcredit/microfinance agencies in their states to demand the MSMED fund received.

Part of the CBN N220 billion MSMED funds have been disbursed. The CBN might want to raise it head above the strong stench of foul play looming here, however, it needs to answer the question of why its officials sidestep stipulated guidelines in disbursing these funds. More so, the remaining part of the fund should be promptly and properly discharged as dictated by the guideline.

Oladipo Oladepo
CONTRIBUTOR
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