New Telegraph

December 1, 2023

COVID-19 loans: FG moves to recover N600bn

Defaulters to be barred from borrowing

NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) has activated loan recovery mechanisms to recoup over N600 billion granted to one million Nigerians in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. The bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Abubakar Abdullahi Kure, told New Telegraph that effective March 2022, the bank would commence recovery of various loans granted to beneficiaries. Kure faulted the impression by some beneficiaries that the loans were ‘public fund and national cake’ never meant to be paid. He admonished those who benefited from the facility to pay back, as, according to him, paying back will afford others to benefit. At the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced various funding interventions to cushion effects of the pandemic on the economy.

CBN’s intervention facilities were disbursed by Nirsal Microfinance Bank. Thes include Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) totaling N363.49 billion to 766,719 beneficiaries comprising 638,070 households and 128, 649 small businesses. Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS) N134.63 billion to 37,571 entrepreneurs.

The beneficiaries initially had one year moratorium to repay but later extended by extra one year by the CBN. The MD said the extension would lapse next March, 2022, adding that with the economy fully on recovery path, and business activities back to normal, the beneficiaries have no excuse not to pay back. “By March we expect the economy to be unlocked. People are going about their businesses, no restrictions whatsoever. “We expect people to start paying. Why the moratorium was there was because the economy was locked down and you can’t go out to do your business. Now you can go out to do exchange of goods and services. Now we expect people to start paying back by March 2022 and if you don’t pay, there are penalties around it.

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