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N220bn MSME fund to be reviewed in 2015 'CBN

Published by Tribune on Mon, 29 Dec 2014

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it will soon review the guidelines for accessing the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Development Fund to ensure easy access.The Acting Director, Development Finance Department of CBN, Mr Mudashir Olaitan, who spoke at a recent workshop on 'Framework for N220 billion MSMEs Development Fund,' said five commercial banks had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the CBN on the way forward.According to him, the banks are United Bank for Africa (UBA), Skye Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank.Olaitan said the commercial banks were, however, 'foot-dragging' because the small volume of the lending under the fund and the little profit margin from their intermediation role.The CBN said the loan would be given out at three per cent interest rate but commercial, microfinance and development banks want nine per cent.He added that the CBN launched the fund to close the financing gap of the sub-sector estimated at N9.6 trillion as of 2010.Olaitan said that the bank recognised that access to finance remained the most critical challenge to MSMEs development and could not play their roles effectively.He said the MSMEs globally served as engine of economic growth, vehicle for job creation, drivers of production and income generation as well as tools for poverty reduction and wealth creation, among others.The assistant director said that 60 per cent of the fund had been earmarked to provide financial services to women for their peculiar financial exclusion circumstances.Olaitan said the CBN wanted a ratio of 50:50 for on-lending to micro enterprises and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).He added that the 20 per cent of the wholesale component of the fund was meant for economically active persons with disabilities.He also said that eligible enterprises in agricultural value chain activities, services, artisans, cottage industries, trade and general commerce and any other income generating projects could benefit.'The MSMEDF is to provide long-term affordable funding for the MSMEs.
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