Banks Begin Disbursement of N26.4bn to Small Businesses

Nigerian Central Bank, Abuja, Nigeria.

Enterprise Television- Banks Begin Disbursement of N26.4bn to Small Businesses

The Deposit Money Banks have begun the disbursement of the more than N26 billion enterprise development intervention fund under the Agriculture and Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) by the Bankers’ Committee.

The bankers at their yearly retreat in Lagos, last December, agreed to put the funds in the hands of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises’ across sectors starting January 1, 2018, regretting that such a huge amount pooled together since last year had remained idle.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, assured: “We are going to be disbursing small loans like N100,000; N200,000; and N500,000 at not more than five per cent.”

The disbursements, is targeted at small businesses owned by “weak and vulnerable” entrepreneurs who cannot kick off their bankable projects due to funding, include barbers, hairdressers and small agribusiness schemes.

The bankers also expanded the scheme to incorporate those who want to learn tiling, mason and house interior decorations, among others, offering to train and equip, as well as take them through the daily management of such enterprises.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the move to support artisans and increase their number, is targeted at creating about 100,000 jobs in the first quarter of this year.

The tenor of the facility is long enough for small businesses, with a minimum of seven years and moratorium, so that those who accessed the fund can do so at low pricing and at a tenor that would give them ample time to repay.

On the part of the CBN, its entrepreneurial development centres across the six geo-political zones of the country may now serve as a training place for people that would benefit from the scheme.

To get banks committed fully to the initiative, the committee agreed that as it takes off this January, while it must be a non-profit maximisation goal, there must be professional and transparent management process, to give everybody comfort.

Meanwhile, other incentives that would serve as a morale booster for banks’ participation may soon be unveiled, to keep the agreements binding as the funding takes off.

These include risk sharing modal, involving the borrowers, the apex bank’s use of differential Cash Reserve Requirement and possible participation of Development Finance Institutions.