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CBN denies sale of N220bn MSME loan forms

By on November 5, 2014

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday said it did not authorise or appoint any agent to sell forms or collect any fee to those interested in accessing the N220bn Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund.

The bank said it learnt that some unscrupulous persons were defrauding unsuspecting members of the public by selling application forms purportedly from the CBN for the purpose of accessing loans from the N220bn fund provided by the bank.

The CBN had in August 2013 launched the fund, designed to further enhance access to finance by the MSMEs.

Reports reaching the bank indicated that the alleged fraudsters extorted between N2,000 and N40,000 from their victims, which they were asked to pay for forms as a pre-condition and/or guarantee for securing loans from the fund, a statement signed the Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Ibrahim Mu’azu, said.

“The fraudsters are also reported to be asking would-be borrowers to contribute into a dedicated account certain sums as percentages of the loan they intend to access,” the CBN said.

According to the bank, the only form available under the fund is the form to be filled by participating financial institutions – microfinance banks, non-bank microfinance institutions, financial cooperatives, finance companies, commercial banks, Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture – to enable them to access the fund and it is free.

“The public is therefore advised to beware of the activities of the fraudsters and report anyone that approaches them with the fake forms to the law enforcement agencies,” it stated.

The major objectives of the fund are to provide wholesale financing windows for Participating Financial Institutions; to improve the capacity of the PFIs to meet credit needs of MSMEs; to provide funds at reduced cost to PFIs; to enhance access of women entrepreneurs to finance by allocating 60 per cent of the fund to them, and improve access to finance for non-governmental organisations and micro-finance institutions.

The fund is one of the elements of the microfinance policy of the country, which was launch in 2005, according to the CBN.

In 2012, Nigeria had about eight million MSMEs employing about 42.4 million people and contributing about 46.5 per cent of nominal Gross Domestic Product, data from the CBN revealed.