ABUJA – The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, affirmed that the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) fund would be disbursed to the targeted groups. Emefiele gave the assurance at the 8th Annual MSME Finance Conference and Entrepreneurship Award in Abuja on Monday. He said that the provision of the facility was to further enhance the profile of small businesses in the country, adding that CBN had taken measures to ensure that qualified small business owners benefitted from the fund. “ This is not a grant, this is not sharing of money; this is an opportunity or avenue for what we call micro and small scale enterprises to access finance. “The intention here is to make it possible for you to access finance and 60 per cent of the fund will be going to the women as addressed in the guidelines released. “Thirty per cent of it will go to SMEs, 9.75 per cent of the money will be used for capacity building for understanding business, understanding how you can be an entrepreneur and be able to say I own a business. “And, you should be able to separate between your investment and your income which you can spend,’’ he said. Emefiele alerted that people were compiling fake names and mobile numbers to access the fund but said that they would not succeed. He said that the loan would be granted at single-digit interest rate and at a maximum of nine per cent. He therefore urged entrepreneurs to raise alarm if any bank issued the loan at unapproved rate and should also demand a reversal of any excess above five per cent.
[eap_ad_1] The governor explained that the loan would be channeled through micro finance institutions present at the local government areas and other channels. He disclosed that meetings he had with stakeholders in the industry when he assumed office, revealed that some entrepreneurs needed as low as N50,000 to stabilise their businesses. He therefore cautioned that anyone contemplating of receiving the loan in millions should migrate to SME level and be ready to provide collateral for it. “The structure that has been put in place for micro finance banks and micro finance agencies is that if you are asking for a loan of N50,000 or N100,000, you will not provide collateral. “But something must be done to avoid running into problem of not paying back,’’ he explained. Emefiele disclosed that biometrics of beneficiaries would be taken and that all beneficiaries must repay the loan. He said that the names of repayment defaulters would be put in the data base and no institution would lend money to the individual. He stressed the need to build a strong credit culture where people would take loans and be committed to it and advised persons with intention not to repay the loan not to apply for it in order to avoid embarrassment. He assured that the apex bank would do all in its power to ensure that the money was used to develop MSME in the country to reduce unemployment. On the conference, the governor said that participants would “look at the past, present and future of SMEs in Nigeria”. He said that access to finance was significant in helping SMEs to contribute to economic growth, adding that some SMEs had been selected to feature in the “Entrepreneur Clinic’’ where they would be trained to start their businesses. He explained that participants at the clinic would be monitored and their achievements would be tracked before the 2015 conference. Emefiele called on the private sector to complement government’s efforts by supporting MSME in the country to enhance economic growth. (NAN)