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Nigerians Who Took N555bn Govt Intervention Loan Must Pay Back— NIRSAL MFB

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As conversations around writing off intervention facilities taken by Nigerians under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) heightens, the Managing Director of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Abubakar Abdullahi Kure, has advised the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria against succumbing to the pressure.

The MD of NIRASAL MFB revealed said this in an exclusive interview with THE WHISTLER.

In 2019, the federal government under former President Muhammadu Buhari through the CBN pushed for the establishment of NIRSAL MFB to provide intervention for businesses and farmers.

The bank is owned 75 per cent by the Bankers Committee, 15 per cent by NIRSAL and 10 per cent by NIPOST. When COVID-19 struck, the federal government rolled out several intervention programmes to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians and help businesses recover.

In 2020, the Covid-19-induced lockdown dragged the economy into a recession just after recovering from similar crisis 2016.

NIRSAL MFB’s MD said the lender so far has disbursed a cumulative N555bn through the AGSMEIS, TCF and the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

The MD admitted that there is pressure on the government for the loans to be written off.

But he believes the loans should not be written off to avoid future abuse of government intervention loans.

The MD told THE WHISTLER, “There is pressure in the country to write off the loans but at the last session I had with the CBN management, I advised against it. I will not support it. I don’t support it for the reason that it is a moral hazard. Any time the government or banks come out with a loan or intervention; people think it is a grant that they will not pay back.

“My stand is that we should recover as much as we can because if we say write off the loans, it is not every Nigerian that got the loan for God’s sake. Nigeria has a population of 200 million people and maybe, only a little over a million got the loans. What then happens to those who did not benefit from the loan?

“If it is on equal share, I would have supported the agitation to write off, and some people did not make meaningful use of the loan. Some people diverted it to go and marry women and buy iPhones and things that are not asset generating, so people should pay back.

“When you write it off, anytime the government comes with a loan, they will not use it well, they will divert it to other things, thinking the government will come back and write it off again.”

Kure also told THE WHISTLER that NIRSAL MFB has “Recovered within the range of 20 per cent of all the loans.”

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