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Business News of Monday, 2 January 2023


COVID-19: Senator urges CBN to forfeit N188bn loan

Senate Senate

Some senators are pushing for the Central Bank of Nigeria and NIRSAL Micro Finance Bank to forfeit the recovery of credits given to Nigerians under the Targeted Credit Facility.

This was according to a statement shared with our correspondent on Friday.

The Targeted Credit Facility was credit given to Nigerians during the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate the hardships suffered by individuals and businesses from loss of revenue and income.

The CBN supervised the disbursement of the facility while NIRSAL MFB was the disbursing agent.

NIRSAL MFB was summoned to appear before the Senate ad hoc committee investigating the allegation of uneven disbursement of loans, grants, and interventions in the six-geopolitical regions.

After the NIRSAL MFB’s presentation, the senator representing Ondo Central Senatorial District, Ayo Akinyelure, noted that it appeared NISRAL gave out money as grant to the beneficiaries.

He recommended that “since recovering this money will be difficult for NISRAL MFB, because of the time it was disbursed, let’s request that CBN should give them fresh funding so they can be able to give it out to persons that they can recover the money from.”

Akinyelure added, “The money, about, N188bn outside, is gone and we can’t wait until it is recovered before another fund can be disbursed. Countries like the United States gave their citizens free money about four times. So, for this agency to meet its objectives, fresh funds should be released to them.”

The senator also suggested that “creations like this (NIRSAL MFB) should try and be differentiated from the CBN, as the CBN stands as a regulator for the financial sector. And I don’t see why it will put itself in work with micro and macro sectors of the economy. I don’t think it is wise for us”.

However, Akinyelure expressed worry about what NISRAL MFB is doing even though it has a national certificate, which he claims conflicts with what the commercial and development banks are doing.

He further called for continued funding for the NIRSAL MFB for small business owners to access quick and affordable loans without stringent conditions.