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Senate Again, Probes Uneven Disbursement Of N483bn MSME Loan

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The Senate has again resolved to launch a fresh probe into 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 the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume and co- sponsored by 64 other lawmakers during plenary in Abuja.

It would be recalled that 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 the loan beneficiaries of about 47 per cent of the entire loan.

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 the loans.

Senator Ndume, who was visibly dissatisfied with the outcome of the last investigation and the committee’s recommendations, said there was the need for the Senate to look at the issue critically again owing to the huge disparity in the 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 a breakdown of the loan disbursement, according to the Bank’s report, further showed that Southwest got the lion 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 was instituted 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.

Senators who contributed to the debate all agreed that the Red Chamber should again probe the loan disbursement with a view to addressing disparity.

The Senate, after the debate, set up an ad hoc committee to carry out holistic investigation into the loan disbursement by DBN and report back in four weeks.

The seven-man panel is chaired by the former Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi. Other committee members are: Babangida Oseni, Ali Ndume, Banigo Ipalibo, Sani Musa, Chizoba Chukwu, and Adetokunbo Abiru.

James Itodo, Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Kevin Nwabueze

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