Scores of Nigerians have reacted to the conditions set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for households and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to access the N50bn intervention fund to cushion the effect of Covid-19, urging the apex bank to relax some of conditions.

It would be recalled the CBN had last week released the guidelines for the implementation of the N50bn targeted credit facility for households and small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) that have been particularly hit by Covid-19.

The fund, which shall be financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), will be disbursed by the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank to beneficiaries.

Activities covered eligible activities under the scheme include agricultural value chain activities; hospitality (accommodation and food services); Health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies); airline service providers; manufacturing/value addition; trading and any other income generating activities as may be prescribed by the CBN.

Based on the guidelines, collateral is required for SMEs to access the fund, the collateral to be pledged by beneficiaries under the programme shall be as may be acceptable by NIRSAL MFB. As expected, some Nigerians who described the intervention fund as desirable, noted, however, that the conditions might be too difficult for small businesses to meet.

Commenting on the criteria, Stanley Solomon Awotide, twitted that “this is not how they disburse this funds in other countries affected by coronavirus pandemic.” Also Kenny Adazie, another commentator, twitted, “having gone through the implementation targeted credit facility, I don’t see how SMEs will access it, even those with over N50m turnover.

Moveable asset reg. on the NCR, title documents, deed of debenture, guarantor, life insurance? It’s not realistic. We’ve been sidelined as always.” Another twitter user, who simply identified himself as Engineer Tailor in his twitter handle, queried, “how do SMEs get access to this with the Collateral clause there? Households with verifiable source of livelihood? How do you verify those petty traders who do just anything to feed their families?

Please if something like this is to be done, kindly come down to our level.” Hassan Aliyu Jibril, another commentator twitted, “the intervention is timely and the rate is commendable, but the guidelines/requirements are off the mark. Kindly make a downward review of the requirements to make the loan accessible to all.”

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