The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will soon recommence the disbursement of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) to micro, small and medium businesses.
Dr Mudashiru Olaitan, the Director, Development Finance, CBN, made this known at the 3rd Annual General Meeting of the Association of Non-Bank Micro Finance Institutions (ANMFIN) in Abuja on Thursday.
Olaitan stated that the apex bank is in the process of overhauling the disbursement process to make it more efficient.
Cue in audio (Olaitan)
“I quite agree that there have been some delays; there is no doubt about that.
“But we are trying to overhaul the system to make it much more efficient and effective.
“Nevertheless, while we are reviewing the process, I think there have been some disbursements (we have made); we have disbursed about 500million to about 60MFIs
“We are not resting, we are going to continue.
“In fact that was one of the reasons why I came here to come and appeal to you to exercise a little patience, because very soon all the issues will be addressed.’’
Cue out audio
As part of its developmental role and mandate of promoting a sound financial system, the CBN launched the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund on Aug. 15, 2013.
This was in recognition of the significant contributions of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sub-sector to the economy.
The sub-sector is characterised by huge financing gap which hinders the development of MSMEs.
The fund prescribes 50:50 ratio for on-lending to micro enterprises and SMEs respectively by Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs)
On the duration of the loans disbursed to ANMFIN members, Olaitan said: “The loans are supposed to last for 12 months after which the borrower is expected to pay back, although, for those going into productive activities, the loan tenure can last for as much as three years.
According to him, the apex bank is still collaborating with the RUFIN and that members can continue to apply for loans through the RUFIN/NIRSAL platform or apply directly to the bank.
He stated that other than MSMEDF, the CBN has other programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme, which is also geared toward empowering farmers across the country.
“In Imo and Anambra states, we are working with farmers and now we have almost 50,000 farmers that we have empowered.
“In addition to that, we also have the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme which was initiated by this administration.
“I want to assure you that the CBN has the interest of the grassroots at heart and that was the reason he initiated these programmes.’’
The President of ANMFIN, Mr Hamid Afolabi, had earlier expressed pleasure at the feat achieved by the association.
Afolabi stated that ANMFIN is currently the largest microfinance network in Africa.
He said that in spite of the economic situation in the country ANMFIN had continued to make giant strides which could be reflected in its 2016 performance.
“We have gained relevance among stakeholders especially in the areas of financial inclusion and poverty eradication in Nigeria.
“As you are aware, capacity building is one of our cardinal objectives, in 2016, we were able to train about 1000 microfinance institution’s staff.
“Financial linkage is another area the association excelled in 2016.In spite of the challenges we faced with the CBN MSMEDF, we were able to access about N500million for our MFIs through the fund,’’ he said.
Afolabi stated that the MSMEDF was playing an important role in improving financial inclusion in the country and further delay in its disbursement would course market distortion and undermine financial inclusion.
He, therefore, appealed to the CBN to sustain the disbursement of the fund to avoid a backward trend in the financial inclusion campaign. (NAN)