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Senate relaunches probe into N483bn MSME loan

The Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged uneven disbursement of N483 billion loan to the Medium and Small-Scale...

The Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged uneven disbursement of N483 billion loan to the Medium and Small-Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the six geo-political zones by the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) in 2021.

This followed a motion by Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) and co-sponsored by 64 others during Wednesday’s plenary. 

The seven-man panel chaired by Dave Umahi has Babangida Oseni, Ali Ndume, Banigo Ipalibo, Sani Musa, Chizoba Chukwu, and Adetokunbo Abiru as members.

It is to report back to plenary in four weeks. 

Daily Trust reports that a similar investigation was carried out in the 9th Senate.

The 9th Senate had set up an ad-hoc panel to investigate the claim that the South-West, especially Lagos State, had the largest number of loan beneficiaries.

The DBN officials then told the panel that they adhered strictly to the criteria set up by their regulators and not geopolitical considerations in giving out loans.

Ndume, who was dissatisfied with the outcome of the last investigation and the committee’s recommendation, said there was a need for the Senate to look at the issue critically again owing to the huge disparity in the loan disbursement. 

He said the bank’s Annual Integrated Statutory Report 2021 showed that it disbursed a loan worth N483 billion in 2021.

He said out of the N483 billion, only 11 per cent went to the 19 northern states totaling N53 billion while Lagos alone got 47 per cent, which amounts to N227 billion. 

Ndume said the breakdown of the loan disbursement, according to the bank’s report, further showed that South West got the lion’s share with 57 per cent of the total loan, estimated to be N274.7 billion.

He said South-south accessed 17 per cent (81.9 billion); North central and FCT, 11 per cent (53 billion); South east, nine per cent (43.3 billion); North West, five per cent (24 billion) and Northeast, a paltry one per cent (4.8 billion).

He noted that the five sectors considered for the loan are oil and gas (42%), manufacturing (16%), agriculture, forestry and fishery (7.2%), trade and commerce (6.3%), and transportation and storage (3.5%).

According to Ndume, the DBN exists to alleviate financing constraints being faced by MSMEs in Nigeria through providing finance, partial credit guarantees and technical assistance to eligible financial intermediaries on a market-conforming and fully financially sustainable basis. 

 

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