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N500bn SME loan: Senate summons finance minister, Emefiele

The Senate ad-hoc committee probing the disbursement of N500bn SME loan by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) yesterday resolved to summon the finance minister,…

The Senate ad-hoc committee probing the disbursement of N500bn SME loan by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) yesterday resolved to summon the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed; the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele and others for explanations on distribution criteria.

The Senate had, last week, constituted a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of uneven disbursement of the N500bn loan to beneficiaries in the six geo-political zones by the DBN in 2021.

It set up the panel following a motion by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, who noted that only 11 per cent of the loan went to the 19 northern states totaling N53bn while Lagos alone got 47 percent, which amounts to N227bn.

The ad-hoc committee, chaired by Senator Sani Musa, yesterday said other officials to face the panel are chief executives of DBN, the Bank of Industry, the Bank of Agriculture and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria.

Musa said, “Available information at the disposal of this committee shows that there are worries on the disbursement methodology employed by the Development Bank of Nigeria as not every SMEs, particularly those in the north, knows about the bank.

“This clearly calls for thorough investigation as regards the criteria set for disbursement of the fund.

“Critical review of the total amount disbursed to beneficiaries from inception to date and total recovery made, if any, will also be made.”